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"The Duke gives the iiiagio word, ' Tlie Whole Line Will Advance ' ' ( /■. 70). 



Nineteenth Century 



And other Well-known Writers 

Vol. I. 








Introduction. By Major Arthur Griffiths i 

Saarbruck : The Baptism of Fire. Aug. 2, 1870. By Archibald Forbes . . . . .22 

The Storming of the Taku Forts. June 25, 1859— Aug. 21, i860. By A. Milliard Atteridge . 27 

Palermo : The Coming of Garibaldi. May — June, i860. By Stoddard Dewey .... 35 
The Red Man's Last Victory : The Fight of the Little Big Horn. June ig — 27, 1876. By 

Angus Evan Abbott 43 

Waterloo. June 18, 1815. By D. H. Parry 51 

Koniggratz (or SADO^VA). July 3, 1866. By Charles Lowe 74 

Ayacucho. Dec. 9, 1824. By W. B. Robertson 85 

The First Battle of Bull Run. July 21, 1861. By Angus Evan Abbott 92 

The July Battles Before Plevna. July 20— July 30, 1877. By Archibald Forbes . . .101 

The Shangani Patrol. Dec. 3—4, 1893. By E. F, Knight no 

The Siege and Storming of Delhi. May — Sept., 1857. By Charles Lowe 120 

GiSLlKON. Nov. 23, 1847. By A. J. Butler . . . , 137 

Insandhlwana. Jan. 22, 1879. By C. Stein 147 

LissA, July 20, 1866. By A. Milliard Atteridge 156 

MacMahon at Magenta. June 4, 1859. By Stoddard Dewey 164 

The Battle of the Alma. Sept. 20, 1854. By Major Arthur Griffiths 174 

AUSTERLITZ. Dec. 2, 1805. By C. Stein 183 

Kassassin and Tel-el-Kebir. Sept. 9 and Sept. 13, 1882. By Charles Lowe . . . .195 

Shiloh. April 6 — 7, 1862. By Angus Evan Abbott 205 

Amoaful. Jan. 31, 1874. By G. A. Henty 215 

The Redoubts of Duppel. April 18, 1864. By Charles Lowe 224 

Roberts' Battles About Cabul. Sept. — Dec, 1879. By Archibald Forbes 234 

CuSTOZZA. June 24, 1866. By A. Milliard Atteridge 247 

The Taking of Badajoz. April 6, 1812. By D. H. Parry 256 

The Blockade of Callao. Nov., 1820. By W. B. Robertson 267 

The Taking of the Gate Pah. April 27, 1864. By A. Milliard Atteridge 276 

Warsaw. Sept. 6—7, 1831. By A. S. Krausse 284 

The Storming of the Nilt Forts. Dec, 1891. By E. F. Knight 290 

Aspromonte. Aug. 29, 1862. By Charles Lowe , . , . 299 

Napoleon's Moscow Campaign. June — Dec, 1812. By D. H. Parry 30? 

Rorke's Drift. Jan. 22, 1879. By C. Stein 330 

Mars-la-Tour (Vionville or Rezoxville). Aug. 16, 1870. By Charles Lowe . . . .341 

The Retreat of Corunna. Nov., 1808— Jan., 1809. By D. H. Parry 354 

Navarino. Oct. 20, 1827. By Merbert Russell . 365 



Sir John Moore ......... 3 

" He fell furiously on his nearest enemies " ... 4 

Marshal Ney ......... 5 

Marshal Soult 5 

Sir Charles Napier ........ 7 

Lord Gough 8 

Charge of cavalry through the breaches at Sobraon . . 9 

Sir Colin Campbell 10 

Sir James Outram 11 

Sir Henry Havelock . . . . . . . .11 

"'This gun belongs to my regiment — 2nd Goorkha, 

Prince of Wales's ! ' " 12 

The Maori War : Attack upon the Orakao Pah. . . 13 
Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia (afterwards German 

Emperor) • 15 

Sir Garnet (afterwards Viscount) Wolseley ... 16 
The " Black Watch " (42nd Royal Highlanders) at bay at 

Quatre Bras . , 17 

General Grant ......... 19 

" They came right in among our men " .... 20 

Lord William Beresford and the Trooper . . . .21 

Plan of the Battle of Saarbriick 23 

Saarbruck 24 

Lulu's Debut 25 

Plans of the Taku Forts operations 28 

"' What have you been doing, you rascals ?'" . . . 29 

" Rogers got in, helped up by Lieutenant Lenon " . • 33 

" The Picciotti picked off their men " . . . . 36 

Palermo Harbour ........ 37 

"' General, it smiles on you !' ' ..... 40 

The coast of Palermo, looking towards Termini . . 41 

The erection of the barricades 42 

"Until one day a grizzly trapper peered out of the 

bushes" ......... 44 

" And the Sioux saw in amazement the long train of 

white-topped waggons " . . . . . .44 

" The warriors danced the war-dance " . . . . 45 

Plan of the Battle of Little Big Horn .... 46 

"They plunged into the seething mass of painted and 

befeathered red men " . ...... 49 

The farm of Quatre Bras 52 

Picton's Division off to the front 53 

The field of Waterloo on the morning of the battle . . 56 

" A shout of ' Vive I'Empereur ' rolled along the field" . 57 

Sir Thomas Picton • • 59 

The farm of Hougoumont ....... 60 

" Some got as far as the loopholes and seized the 

bayonets" ......... 61 

Defence of La Haye Sainte by the German Legion . . 64 

"A gallant artillery driver rushed his horses to the wall " . 65 

La Haye Sainte 68 

The Union Brigade capturing the French guns at Waterloo 69 

I -a Belle Alliance 72 

Mont St. Jean 72 

Marshal Bliicher . ... . . . -73 

" Major von Ungar came spurring in with a great piece of 

news " 76 

Koniggratz 77 

Plan of the Battle of Koniggratz .... 78 

General Benedek ........ 79 

"The Prussians pushed battery after battery into action" 80 
" Boldly the Prussians advanced upon this village and its 

wood " ......... 8r 

Gravestones erected on the battlefield in memory of the 

fallen 83 

" The Crown Prince rode up and met his father " . . 84 

Plan of the Battle of Ayacucho 86 

"■ There lies my last horse !' " ...... 88 

" The routed Spaniards clambered up the rugged sides " . 89 

Lima 91 

"They would not keep in rank, order as much as you 

pleased " 93 

Plan of the Battle of Bull Run 94 

General Sherman 96 

"Time after time the attempt to scale the height was 

made " .....,.., 97 

General " Stonewall " Jackson ...... 99 

" The army of the North broke and fled, panic-stricken " . 100 

Plan of the second Battle of Plevna 102 

Grand Duke Nicholas . 103 

"The General had risen and was standing against a tree" 104 

" Then there followed a headlong rush " .... 105 

" They gathered to the sound " 108 

Environs of Plevna ........ 109 

Mr. Riley, Umjan, and Mr. Dawson . . . . .112 

" They fought on grimly " 113 

The Shangani Patrol : Plan 114 

Zimba'owe temple and kraal 116 

" He sold his life dearly " 117 

Lobengula .......... 118 

" The cool-headed signaller died at his post " . . . 121 

Jumma Musjid, Delhi ....... 124 

"The officers then, having helped the women to follow, 

carried them up the opposite side " , . . . 125 

Major Tombs 127 

"It was bayonet to bayonet" 128 

Plan of Delhi and environments 129 

The Palace, and the Chandnee Chouk, Delhi . . . 132 

" Our devoted men worked on with a will " . . . 133 

The Victoria Cross 136 

At Bern 138 

Lucerne and surrounding district 139 

At Fiibourg 140 

" Major Scherrer seized the colours " 141 

The neighbourhood of Gislikon 143 

" Rust's battery galloped through Honau " . . . 145 

Lake Zug 146 

King Cetewayo 148 

" The camp was a picturesque sight " .... 149 

Vicinity of Insandhlwana : Plan .... 151 



" They raised the ominous Zulu war shout, and dashed 

forward " 153 

Lord Chelmsford i55 

" From this point Tegethoff kept on the bridge " . .157 

Shores and ports of the Adriatic 158 

The Battle of Lissa, 10 a.m. The fleets closing . . 159 

Trieste Harbour 160 

" The ram crushed in her iron side " 161 

" General LebcEuf dashed up " 165 

" On the track lay a body covered with a blue cloak " . 168 

" In their frenzy his Zouaves broke through the defences " 169 

Plan of the Battle of Magenta 170 

" He dictated the telegraphic de.spatch " .... 172 

" The doctors began their all night's work "... 173 

Prince Mentschikoff 175 

The Heights of Alma 176 

"Then young Anstruther raced forward" . . . . 177 

Marshal St. Arnaud 178 

Plan of the Battle of Alma i79 

The Highlanders at Alma ....... 180 

■' Turner himself hurried up two of his guns" . . . i8x 

Lord Raglan 182 

" The saying passed, ' Our Emperor does not make use of 

our arms in this war so much as of otu- legs ' " . . 184 

Napoleon Bonaparte 185 

Marshal" Prince Murat (afterwards King of Naples) . . 188 

" Thousands of lights flared upwards " .... 189 

Charge of the Chevalier Guards 192 

Plan of the Battle of Austerlitz 193 

The Sweet-Water Canal at Ismailia ..... 196 

" The Egyptian battalions had been trampled and sabred 

into positive annihilation " . . . . . . 197 

Plan of the Battles of Tel-el-Kebir and Kassassin . . 198 

The Valley of the Saba Bier 200 

" Carrying them with the bayonet " 201 

Arabi Paiha 202 

Arabi surrendering to General Drury Lowe . . . 204 

Shiloh battle-field 208 

The march to Shiloh ......... 209 

Plan of the Battle of Shiloh 211 

Shiloh battle-field : scene where General Johnston fell . 212 

" Up the bank they struggled and scrambled" . . , 213 

President Lincoln . 214 

Cape Coast Castle 216 

" The Bonny men led the advance " ..... 217 

Mapof Ashanti 219 

" Each little rise was held obstinately by the enemy " . 221 

Coomassie 223 

Field-Marshal von Wrangel 225 

Map shoeing the position of Duppel 227 

Prince Frederick Charles 228 

The German soldiers making sentries out of clay . . 229 

The Prussians attacking the Danish breastworks . . 232 

Lieutenant Anker taken prisoner 233 

The British Residency after the attack .... 236 

" He held a durbar " 237 

Cabul 240 

" Colonel Cleland led his lancers " 241 

Plan of Roberts' battles about Cabul 242 

North end of Sherpur entrenchments, Cabul . . . 244 

" The roar surged forward " ...... 245 

Sir Frederick Roberts in 1880 ...... 246 

Sketch map of the war in Italy in 1866 .... 248 

Verona 249 

Archduke Albert 252 

The charge of the Austrian lancers 253 

Plan of the Battle of Custozza 254 

Badajoz 257 

Map of Spain and Portugal to illustrate the Peninsular War 260 

"The next, they were leaping, sliding, climbing" • . . 261 


Plan of Badajoz in 1812 264 

"' Will you drink, old boy?' " ...... 265 

Lord Cochrane . 268 

Valparaiso .......... 269 

Plan of Callao in 1819 271 

" The Chilian cutlasses swept the deck " .... 273 

The attack on the Gate Pah 277 

Plan of the Gate Pah and surroundings .... 279 

" The brave fellow brought him out at considerable risk ". 280 

The Gate Pah after occupation 281 

A Maori dwelling ........ 283 

Old town, Warsaw 285 

Plan of the Russian operations against Warsaw . , 286 

Emperor Nicholas 287 

"The Russians closed up in their strength and charged 

with their bayonets " 288 

The Jews' market, Warsaw 289 

Sketch map to illustrate the Hunza Nagar campaign . 292 

" Captain Aylmer ignited the fuse" ..... 293 

" He actually succeeded in climbing quite alone " . . 296 

Nilt forts, from the south 297 

Gilgit Residency ........ 298 

General Garibaldi 300 

" Everywhere this free-lance evoked enthusiasm " . . 301 

Garibaldi's movements of 1862 : Plan .... 302 

Catania 304 

" Raising his cap in the air he cried, ' Viva I'ltalia' " . 305 

King V'ictor Emmanuel ....... 306 

Alexander I., Czar of Russia 308 

General view of the city of Moscow 309 

Napoleon's march from the Niemen to Moscow : Plan . 310 

Gardens of the Kremlin 312 

Napoleon's entry into Moscow 313 

Plan of the Battle of Borodino 3:4 

General Junot ......... 316 

The retreat from Moscow 317 

' ' A mutilated spectre crawled towards the startled soldiers " 320 

Smolensk from the banks of the Dnieper in 1812 . . 321 

Napoleon's retreat from Moscow : Plan .... 324 

" The Engineer set fire to their sole means of escape " . 325 

" In a towering passion the Marshal drew his sword" . 328 

Lieutenant Chard , . 332 

Lieutenant Bromhead ....... 332 

Rorke's Drift at the present time 333 

Plan showing the lines of communication in the Zulu 

campaign 335 

Defence of Rorke's Drift : Plan 336 

" There was a hand-to-hand struggle " .... 337 

" The British flag still waved over the storehouse " . . 340 

Count Von Moltke 344 

" The Prussians pushed into the woods, driving the French 

skirmishers from them " 345 

Plan of the Battle of Mars-la-Tour 346 

Map showing scope of operations of the Franco-German 

War of 1870-71 348 

Mitrailleuse 349 

Marshal Bazaine 351 

Charge of the i6th Uhlans 352 

French uniforms in 1870 ....... 353 

Map showing neighbourhood of Corunna .... 356 

" A hussar dashed in with the news that the enemy were 

upon us " 357 

Corunna 360 

Death of Sir John Moore 361 

The bmial of Sir John Moore 362 

Zante 365 

Plan of the Battle of Navarino 368 

" The battle was maintained with unabated fury for above 

four hours" 369 

Navarino 370 


The Duke gives the magic word, "The whole line will advance!" (Coloured) 


Sergeant Ewart capturing the eagle at Waterloo (Coloured) . To face p. 62 

The stormers dashed over the dAbris of the breach . . . To/ace p. 132 

Simultaneously followed the levelled bayonets of Suchet's division (Coloured) 

To face p. i<)o 

The Fifth Division storming by escalade the ramparts of San Vincente 

To face p. 262 

When the remnant of the Guard was seen clearing a way for the Emperor 
there was a rush To jace p. 326 




the words are 
like a trumpet- 
call, summoning up in 
array before us a hun- 
dred familiar forms of great 
soldiers — Napoleon and 
Wellington, Grant and 
]Moltke, MacMahon and 
Garibaldi — great soldiers 
of all nations — great 
soldiers long dead, and 
great soldiers still living. 
Let us glance for an in- 
stant or two, in this intro- 
duction, at the individual 
careers of some of the most famous of them ere 
we pass on to the pages which shall deal with 
their exploits, battle b}- battle, and shall tell 
an detail of their skill and prowess, and their 
fortunes of war, their victories and their defeats. 

The earliest wars of the present century were 
ne nursery of military reputations, and in them 
jvpral great soldiers grew on to imperishable 
ame. Two figures stand out prominently, a 
head and shoulders above all the rest — Napoleon 
and Wellington. It is needless to compare or 
contrast them — Napoleon, the Emperor- 
General, sole arbiter of the fate of millions ; 
Wellington, the lo3-al servant of his country, 
who put duty before mere glory, and whose 
first thought in his triumphs was the vindication 
of the national honour and the re-establishment 
of peace. 

Napoleon was all for self; but this very 

selfishness re-acted on his surroundings, and 
elicited an unbounded, unquestioning devotion 
to his person, which was the parent of many 
heroic deeds. Men suffered themselves to be 
cut to pieces to win a word of his approval ; the 
wounded raised themselves in their agony to 
cheer on their comrades ; the dying with their 
last gasp cried '■"Vwe V Empcreiir ! " 

Over and above the glamour of his personal 
ascendancy, and his long-sustained prestige, 
Napoleon had a still stronger hold upon his 
followers, in that he held the supreme power in 
his own hands, the sole and exclusive right to 
reward or blame. Small wonder, therefore, if 
the soldiers of the First Empire were among the 
finest types of their class. No military regime 
has ever brought better men to the front or 
secured them more rapid advancement. Pro- 
motion to the very highest grades was to 
be had for the earning of it. How fast men 
rose from the lowest rungs to the top of 
the ladder will be understood from a few pro- 
minent cases. Marshal Ney was the son of an 
old soldier, and threw up a small appointment 
to enlist as a private hussar ; Massena, the Prince 
of Essling's father, kept a wine-shop in Nice, 
and the. marshal had begun life as a cabin-boy ; 
Lannes' father was a livery stable-keeper, and 
Augereau the son of a mason. Junot was a 
sergeant of artillery at the siege of Toulon, who 
first attracted Napoleon's attention by his cool- 
ness under fire : a round shot kicked up the 
dust close to where Junot was receiving an order 
in writing, and the young sergeant, unmoved, 
merely said, "^That will do to dry the ink." 

Wellington could not have made use of 
such incentives tc valour as Napoleon did, 


even if he had had them at his command. 
But he did not need them. It was with the 
British rank and tile as with their generals : 
they did their best because it was their duty, 
and it was there to do. They fought because 
they were expected to fight, and fought well, 
because they liked it. So it was that throughout 
the long campaign in Spain the British were 
almost invariably successful. Wherever they 
met the enemy, they beat them. Even at 
Corunna, after a long and disastrous retreat, 
overmatched by numbers, led for a time by 
Napoleon himself. Sir John Moore turned on 
his pursuers, and snatched a difficult victory at 
the expense of his own life. He was struck 
down just as the French were repulsed, but his 
troops, undismayed, continued the action, which 
ended entirely in our favour, and permitted us 
to re-embark without loss. Moore's death on 
the battle-field has been honoured in song ; it 
was a hero's death, and to the last moment he 
would not surrender his sword, although the hilt 
had entered the wound. His bod^' had to 
be buried on the battle-field ; and it is greatly 
to the credit of a chivalrous foe that the French, 
recognising his merit, raised a monument over 
his remains. 

Wellington's career was one of almost un- 
equalled success. If he was compelled to retreat 
more than once, it was only to make a newer 
and a bolder advance. In all his battles he 
was victorious : thanks to his own great genius 
and the matchless bravery of his troops. The 
Peninsular records are full of great deeds done 
on great battle-fields, in combats, charges, and 
on the deadly breach ; and in this book of 
ours we shall have pictured to us fully and com- 
pletely the scenes of these deeds of valour and 
heroism : but here let us just glance at two 
or three of Wellington's victories to see what 
stuff he and his troops were made of. That 
passage of the Douro, for instance, in i8oq, 
when he crossed in the face of Soult and a 
veteran army — one of his most brilliant exploits. 
Do you remember how Colonel Waters, one of 
his staff-officers, got over aldne in a skiff and 
brought back three barges, and how, when the 
first boat was ready with its petty complement 
of twent3'-five, he said simply, " Let the men 
cross ' ; and how this handful gained a foothold 
which they never relaxed till their comrades 
followed in thousands, and the surprised French 
were driven out of the town ? 

Talavera was both a general's and a soldiers' 
battle : the first because Wellington (then only 

Sir Arthur Wellesley) showed that imperturb- 
able coolness and self-reliance, mixed prescience 
of danger and promptitude in meeting it. 
which are the highest qualities of leadership ; 
the second, because it was won mainly by a 
single regiment, which acted with marvellous 
precision and courage at the decisive point just 
in the nick of time. The French in this battle 
were the assailants : the genius of their soldiers 
is for onslaught, and their greatest deeds have 
been in attack. But they were met and repulsed. 
It was of Talavera that Jomini, the well-known 
military writer, said it proved that the British 
infantry could dispute the palm with the best in 
Europe. Another instance of its prowess of 
another kind was shown at Talavera, when 
Crawfurd's famous Light Brigade of the 43rd, 
52nd, and 95th Regiments came up, determined 
at all costs to take part in the action. They 
met crowds of Spanish fugitives, who declared 
the English army was defeated, its general a 
prisoner, the French only a few miles off. But 
still they pressed on undaunted, and " leaving 
onl}^ seventeen stragglers behind," says Napier, 
''in twenty-six hours crossed the field of battle, 
a compact body, having during the time marched 
sixty-two English miles in the hottest season of* 
the year, each man carrying from fifty to i^ixty 
pounds weight." 

At Busaco, again, the French were the assail- 
ants : veteran troops led by some of the bravest 
of French generals ; and their numbers gave 
them the advantage. But the British were 
-Strongly posted on a craggy ridge of hills, so 
strongly that it was thought the French leader, 
Massena, would not attack. '' But if he does, I 
shall beat him," replied Wellington quietly ; and 
he did. The French fought with signal braver}-, 
but the ascent was toilsome, and they were met 
b}' men as brave. 

In the retreat before the battle, two affecting 
incidents occurred which showed the quality 
of the soldiers Wellington commanded. There 
was a man in the famous 43rd, named Stewart, 
only nineteen years of age, but of gigantic 
strength and stature, whose comrades called 
him "The Boy." He was deeply chagrined, 
and at a bridge which he was the last to cross, 
he turned, and facing the French advancing 
columns, he was heard to say : " So, tins is 
the end of our boasting ! This is our first 
battle (Talavera), and we retreat. The boy 
Stewart will not live to hear that said." 
" Then," says Napier, " striding forward in his 
giant might, he fell furiously on his nearest 


enemies with the bayonet, refused the quarter 
they seemed desirous of granting, and died 
fighting in the midst of them." 

The other story tells of a still finer instance of 
the noble spirit of the British soldier. It was at 
the passage of the Coa, a month before Busaco, 
when the 52nd would have been cut off from the 
bridge but for the gallantry with which McLeod 
of the 52nd came back rushing at full speed 
with a couple of companies, which charged " as 
if a whole army had been at their backs,'" and 
repulsed the enemy. One of McLeod's officers 
was the afterwards ' 
famous Sir George 
Brown, at this time 
only sixteen, who was 
leading his men gal- 
lantly up a slope, at 
the top of which were 
a couple of French- 
men with muskets 
levelled at him. A 
sergeant interposed — 
M'Ouade, himself only 
twenty-four — and, pull- 
ing his officer back, 
with the words, " You 
are too young, sir, to 
be killed," offered him- 
self as a target, and fell 
dead, pierced by both 

Three great sieges, 
ending in the storm- 
ing and capture of three 
strong, almost impreg- 
nable, fortresses, were 

among the laurels gained in Spain — laurels 
tarnished, unhappil}', b}?^ the shameful excesses 
of the victorious troops. When the breaches 
at Ciudad Rodrigo were declared practicable, 
Wellington's order was simply, " The place 
must be stormed this evening "' ; his soldiers' 
still simpler comment, " We will uo it." The 
forlorn hope raced up to their death, followed 
by the no less eager body of stormers, and 
the main breach was carried with a furious 
shout. At Badajoz, Phillipon, the brave 
Frenchman, stood at bay to the last, and the 
'' possession of Badajoz had become a point 
of personal honour with the soldiers of each 

nation Ridge had himself placed 

a ladder where the wall was low, and climbed 
it ; a second ladder alongside gave access to 
another officer, Canch; and as soon as these two 

were on the ramparts the stormers followed, and 
gained possession.'' Yet the fight elsewhere con- 
tinued for hours, and Wellington had to organise 
a second assault, and the captors of the castle 
were in some danger, although inside the town. 
Badajoz was taken, but at tremendous cost. 
No age, no nation, ever sent forth braver troops 
to battle than those who stormed Badajoz. 

In the course of this book we shall hear 
much more of these triumphs of Wellington : 
how at Salamanca he caught Marmont in an 
egregious tactical error, fell upon him in flank, 
and defeated 40,000 
men in forty minutes ; 
how at Vittoria he 
routed King Joseph, 
beating him at every 
point, and capturing 
ever3'thing the French 
possessed : " all their 
equipages, all their 
guns, all their treasure, 
all their stores, all 
their papers"; how, 
in the Pyrenees, pitted 
against Soult, Napo- 
leon's ablest lieutenant, 
he won battle after 
battle : at Sauroren, at 
the Bidassoa, at the 
Nivelle, and finally, 
invading France, at 
Orthez and Toulouse. 
The passage of the 
Adour was a combined 
military and naval 
operation, carried out 
in the teeth of a fierce February storm. The 
bridge of boats which the British staff corps 
formed across the river was a " stupendous 
midertaking" which ranks amongst the prodigies 
of war ; for the tide rose and fell fourteen feet, 
and large boats could only be employed. It 
was at Orthez that Soult, thinking victory 
secure, put forward all his reserves too rashly. 
Then Wellington, as he watched him, smote his 
thigh, and cried exultingly, " At last I have 
him ! " On the spur of the moment he changed 
his plan of battle, and by a turning movement 
cut off Soult's line of retreat. 

The greatest of all the great achievements of 
the great duke was, of course, his victory at 
Waterloo — a battle which will always rank 
among the most important and decisive that 
have been fought, because so much depended 

{After the Engraving by C. Turner.) 


upon the issue. The only hope of securing peace 
to Europe was in beating Napoleon, and it was 
not easy to do it. There were moments in the 
brief campaign, both before and during the great 
battle which finished it, when victory hung in 
the balance and inclined to the French. At 
the outset, Napoleon sto-le a march upon the 
Allies ; he placed his whole force at a point 
between them, whence he might separate and 
roll up each in turn. He beat the Prussians 


badly at Lign}-, but Ney was checked b}- our 
tenacious resistance at Ouatre Bras. Still, the 
British and the Prussians retired divergently, as 
it is called; and had Napoleon followed up quickly, 
he might have fought them one by one. But 
Wellington drew off, retreating — not without 
danger — upon Waterloo ; and Blucher. recover- 
ing his communications vrith us, was able to 
come up at the close of the great fight, and 
make victory the more complete. 

By degrees new men, imbued with much the 
same high qualities, replaced the veterans of 
Spain and Waterloo ; but till more than half the 
century was ended it was the generals who had 
been trained to war under Wellington who 
chiefly led the troops to victory and maintanied 

British prestige. Charles Napier in Scinde^ 
Hugh Gough in the Punjaub, Fitzroy-Somerset 
(Lord Raglan) in the Crimea, Colin Campbell, 
afterwards Lord Clyde, in China, the Crimea, 
and India, had all learnt and practised their 
profession in the early wars. They were all, 
however, men advanced in ^-ears before they 
came to a supreme command in the field. The 
long peace after Waterloo, lasting some thirty 
vears, denied soldiers all chance of active service, 
and it was not till Sir Charles 
Napier was sixty years ot age 
that He found himself winning 
battles on his own account. 
Sir Hugh Gough was older by 
five years when he led an army 
against the Sikhs, and began 
the difficult conquest of the 
Punjaub. Lord Raglan was 
also an aged man when he was 
selected to command our armies 
in the Russian war of 1854-5. 

Both Napier and Gough had 
won early laurels in Spain, and 
both as majors, temporarily it. 
command of their regiments, 
had helped to win great battles, 
and paid in their persons for 
their valour. Napier was with 
Sir John Moore at Corunna. 
and at the head of the 50th (the 
gallant "Half-hundred") had 
repulsed the French attack at 
one important point. Then 
when — to quote another Napier, 
his brother, and the famous 
historian of the war — " he was 
encompassed by enemies and 
denied quarter, he received five wounds. But he 
still fought and struggled for life till a French 
drummer, with a generous heart and indignation, 
forcibly rescued him from his barbarous assailants.' ' 
The wounds he received were terrible : he had 
his leg broken by a bullet, a sabre-cut laid open 
his head, and he had had a bayonet stab in his 
back. It Avas at this battle of Corunna, when 
the young major (he was oniv twenty-six at the 
time) took command, that he found his men 0/ 
the line wavering under the fierce fire. In order 
to steady them, he put them through r^everai 
movements of the manual exercise, ordering 
them to " Slope arms I " " Carry arms ! " and s • 
on, until the}- recognised his voice and hardened 
under his hand. 

Hugh Gough like Charles Napier, owed to 


:he chance absence of his colonel the oppor- 
tunity of winning early distinction. As a major, 
of barely thirty, he was in command of his 
regiment — the gallant 87th, long famous as the 
Irish Fusiliers — at the battle of Talavera, Avhere 
he was severely wounded, but so distinguished 
himself as to earn promotion ; he w^as at the 
head of the 87th when they made their famous 
charge at Barrosa, which decided the fate of that 
hard-fought day ; and he was so foremost in the 
repulse of the French from Tarifa that he re- 
ceived the sword of the French leader when he 
failed in his assault upon the town. 

Lord Raglan had never commanded troops in 
the field, but he had been the secretary and 
close confidant of the Iron Duke, his companion 
in every campaign ; as Fitzroy-Somerset, he 
rode by Wellington's side through the da}- at 
Waterloo, and was one of the few survivors of 
his staff. But he lost his arm by a shot — 
one of the last fired — ^just after his chief had run 
imminent danger, and had been warned to with- 
draw, but held his ground, saying, " Never mind ; 
let them fire awa}'. The battle's won ; my life is 
of no consequence now." The duke turned to 
ride off the field, when a stray bullet shattered 
Lord Fitzroy's arm at the elbow. It was the 
right arm unfortunately, and it had to be am- 
putated at once ; but Wellington retained his 
services as secretary, and Lord Raglan soon 

Colin Campbell was jiuiior in years and rank 
to the three great soldiers just mentioned, but 

{From ike Portrait by S.oztillard.') 

learnt to write with his left hand, so as to« 
become a neat, rapid penman. 

{From the Painting by F. Gerard.) 

he graduated in the stirring school of war when 
he was but sixteen, and learnt hardihood as a 
stripling. It was the custom in those days to 
send boys into the army at an age Avhen many 
nowada3^s are still at school. They were brave 
boys, as their successors of to-day will admit. 
Let me tell you how young Campbell behaved 
in his first encounter with the enemy. To 
be shot at for the first time is a startling 
experience. Young Campbell, at Vimiera, suf- 
fered like many more, but his captain, an old 
and war - hardened campaigner, seeing his 
trouble, took him quickly b}' the hand, and 
led him out into the front of the regiment, 
upon which the enemy's guns had just be- 
gun to play, and for several anxious minutes 
walked him up and down under fire. The 
treatment calmed him completely, and he 
never knew the want of confidence again. On 
the contrar}^, Colin Campbell, just five years 
later, performed prodigies of valour in leading 
the forlorn hope at the storming of San Sebas- 
tian. He had just forced his way to the summit 
of the breach, when he fell back, desperately 
wounded in the hip ; but finding he could still 
move forward, he re-climbed the breach, to be 
fully disabled by another shot in the thigh. 
Three months later he lay in hospital, with his 
wounds but half healed, when he heard that 
Wellington's army was on the point of invading 


France, and he resolved to be one of the party. 
Escaping from hospital, with an equally ardent 
comrade, " In* dint of crawling and an occasional 
lift from vehicles proceeding along the road, 
they made their way to the 5th division in 
which the gth were brigaded, and were in action 
(on the Bidassoa) on the following day." * His 
desertion from hospital was a breach of discipline, 
and Campbell would have been sharply dealt with; 
but in the fight he led his company so gallantly, 
and was again so badly wounded, that it was im- 
possible to do otherwise than praise his bravery 
and ignore his bad conduct. 

They were giants, these soldiers of the Penin- 
sula, setting an example of courage and endur- 
ance to their successors for all time : an example 
which you may be sure has alwaj's, and will 
ahva3-s, be followed by British troops of all 
ranks, from leader to fighting-man. Wellington's 
veterans never fell away from the traditions 
in which they had been raised, and which they 
bequeathed. Sir Charles Napier, at sixty, 
began his Scinde campaign with a daring opera- 
tion which ranks with the boldest in war. His 
march upon the desert fortress of Emaun Ghu>, 
with a few hundred English soldiers carried on 
camels — a lonely journey of eight days — was a 
feat, both in its performance and its conse- 
-quences, which is not outdone by Wolfe's scaling 
of the Heights of Abraham, the great American 
General Sherman's march from Atlanta to the 
sea, Drury Lowe's and Herbert Stewart's raid 
upon Cairo after Tel-el-Kebir, when 1,500 horse- 
men galloped into the old capital of the Caliphs 
and seized it for the Queen. At that moment 
Cairo was held by a garrison of 10,000 of Arabi's 

Again, Napier's victory at Meanee was a 
triumph over the most tremendous odds, when 
2,400 British troops, 500 of whom alone were 
white, the rest native sepoys, encountered, 
attacked, and defeated 36,000 Beloochees in the 
open field. Napier would not stand on the 
defensive — that might have seemed to imply 
fear of the result, and injuriousl}- affect the spirit 
of his native troops — so he resolved to attack, 
instead of waiting to be attacked. They met in 
mid-shock — for the Beloochees made a counter- 
attack ; and for three hours the unequal contest 
went on with a foe as brave and undaunted as 
ourselves. It was long a hand-to-hand fight, 
bayonet against sword and spear ; but at the 
critical moment Napier sent all his cavalrv 
against the enemy's right, and broke it. Then 
♦Shadwell's " Life of Lord Clyde," p. 33. 

the 22nd charged home with tremendous force, 
and the battle was won. Not the least brilliant 
feat in this glorious victory was the self-sacrificing 
devotion of a captain of the 22nd — Tew byname 
— who gave his life for his duty. Before the 
fight, Napier had discovered that some 6,000 of 
the enemy occupied a building surrounded by a 
high stone wall, through which there was but 
one egress — a narrow doorway, which could, he 
thought, be completely blocked by a few deter- 
mined men. Captain Tew was posted there with 
his company, and told he must die, if need be, 
but that he must never give way. He died where 
he was posted ; but with his handful of men he 
closed the opening throughout the fight, and 
thus paralysed the action of a large portion of 
the enemv. 

Sir Hugh Gough — afterwards Lord Gough — 
had long to wait for promotion to the higher 
ranks, and he was more than sixty when he 
commenced the campaigning in China which led 
to the cession of Hong-Kong. Soon afterwards 
he won the hard-fought battle of Mahrajpoor, in 
Gwalior, against that warlike and turbulent race 
the Mahrattas, whose subjugation had cost so 
much in the earlier days of the century. Gough 
won Mahrajpoor by a direct attack, marching 
right up to the enemy's position, and trusting 
to the British bayonet for success. " Nothing," 
as he himself wrote in his dispatch, " could with- 
stand the rush of the British soldiers. They 
drove the enemy from their guns, bayoneting 
the gunners at their posts.'' Two oflficers — 
Stopford and Codrington — were found lying 
wounded just under the muzzles of the Mahratta 
artillery. The same tactics — for Gough was 
essentially a forward fighter — served him well 
at Moodkee, the first of the battles in the 
Sikh war. 

The campaign was forced upon us suddenly. 
Gough was called up to support Lord Hardinge, 
the Governor-General, who, when making a 
progress through the Punjaub, found the Sikhs 
on the point of declaring war. The force which 
Gough collected numbered only 14,000 men, and 
it had to traverse 150 miles to reach the scene of 
action. It was a toilsome march, under an Indian 
sun ; water was scarce ; the troops reached 
Moodkee worn-out with privations and fatigue ; 
but when they heard their enemy was in front of 
them, they went, without resting, straight into 
the fight. The Sikhs — splendid soldiers, trained 
by European officers — were more than double 
our numbers, with a fine cavalry and many 
guns; but the British infantr\-, "trusting to that 


never-failing weapon the bayonet," drove the 
Sikhs out of their positions. 

A second battle — a greater trial of strength, 
demanding higher qualities of fortitude and en- 
durance — was near at hand. Gough moved 
forward at once, and attacked the Sikh en- 
trenchments at Ferozeshah, Sir Henry Har- 
dinge, who was with him, waiving his 
rank of Governor-General, and serving under 
Gough, in command of the left wing. The 
struggle was terrific : the Sikhs fought with 
splendid courage, and 
when night fell the 
battle was not ended. 
It was a drawn game 
so far, and some de- 
spondent spirits in the 
camp suggested retreat 
— the rash and in- 
glorious course of cut- 
ting a road through to 
Ferozepore. Gough 
would not agree. " I 
tell you, my mind is 
made up. If we must 
perish, our bones must 
bleach honourably 

where we are.'' Har- 
dinge was no less firm. 
When an officer told 
him that Sir Hugh 
Gough feared it would 
be a fatal risk to renew 
the battle, Sir Henry 
scouted the idea. 
'' Gough knows,'' he 
cried, " that a British 

army must not be foiled ; and foiled this army 
shall not be." The contest, when it re-com- 
menced, was most unequal. Fresh reinforcements 
reached the enemy, but our troops met them un- 
daunted, and went forward nobly to the attack. 
In the end, a turning movement of cavalry on 
both flanks, followed by a fresh infantry charge, 
decided the day in our favour, and the Sikhs 
were routed with tremendous loss. 

These victories did not end the v.-ar or com- 
plete the conquest of the Punjaub. The Sikhs 
fell back upon the Sutlej, and established an 
entrenched camp in front of the village of 
Sobraon : they did not care to meet us again in 
the open field, but they stood a gallant siege at 
Sobraon, which had to be stormed like a fortress. 
A curious feature in this battle was the great 
charge of cavalry made through the breaches, in 


which the horsemen cut down the defenders at 
their guns. Another interesting fight was that 
at Aliwal, won by Sir Harry Smith as a 
detached operation, in which the i6th Lancers 
greatly distinguished themselves. These various 
victories broke the courage of the Sikhs, but 
only for a time ; and the peace that followed was 
of short duration. 

It was abruptly ended by a deed of treachery 
such as has not been uncommon in our 
Eastern Empire : the British resident and an- 
other officer were mur- 
dered in Mooltan, and 
it was necessary to re- 
sume active operations. 
But the occasion fur- 
nished an opportunity 
of distinction to a 
gallant young officer, 
lieutenant Herbert 
Edwardes, who, with- 
•out waiting for orders, 
united his small de- 
tachment, posted on 
the Indus, to that of 
Colonel Courtrand, and 
fell upon the Sikhs, 
forcing them to retreat 
into Mooltan. Then 
followed the gathering 
of forces anew on both 
sides, and fresh battles, 
achieving at first but 
incomplete and unsatis- 
factory results. The 
name of Chillianwallah 
and the misfortune 
ct that day will not be readily forgotten. It 
was a day ot carnage, disaster, and disgrace ; 
for an English cavalry regiment, weakened by 
previous losses and fearing an ambuscade, gave 
way to panic and galloped off the field. It 
mav, however, be said, in extenuation of this 
happily unusual military crime, that an in- 
judicious order given by the brigadier originated 
the stampede. The consequences in any case 
were disastrous, and it followed upon the nearh 
complete massacre of a line regiment— H.M.'s 
24th, that which suffered afterwards so terribly at 
Insandhvana — which, emerging from a swampy 
jungle, was all but cut to pieces, because it 
paused to spike guns it had captured from the 

A storm of indignation arose in England, and 
the public discontent was poured out on the 


Commander-in-chief. Lord Gough was imme- 
diately superseded by Sir Charles Napier,- his 
previous brilliant services being entirely ignored ; 
but before the conqueror of Scinde couid reach 
India, Gough had completely vindicated our 
arms and his own reputation. Mooltan was 
carried by storm, and the final decisive victory 
at Goojerat — at first an artillery duel, in which 
our guns showed their marvellous superiority — 
completed the discomfiture of the Sikhs. From 
that time forth the Punjaub was incorporated 
in our British Indian Empire. The Queen has 
no more loval subjects, no more devoted soldiers 
in her ranks, than the descendants of our former 
sturd)- foes. 

The time was approaching when England 
was to be once more 
engaged in European 
war. Just when the 
nations hoped they had 
reached an era of uni- 
versal peace, the clouds 
collected quickly, and 
two traditional foes 
joined hands to attack 
Russia. The expedi- 
tionary force which left 
these shores for Turkey 
in 1854, and which ere 
long won new victories, 
but at a terrible outlay 
of men and material, 
was one of the finest, 
as regards physique and 
fighting power, that 
England has collected. 
It was well armed, as 
the time went, and well 
commanded. Lord 
Raglan was at its head, 
and his lieutenants were 
mostly Peninsular vete- 
rans: Sir G'.orge Brown, 
already mentioned for 
his gallantry- at the Coa ; 
Sir De Lacy Evans, who 
had fought in Spain 
and America, and at 

Waterloo ; Sir George Cathcart, who had been 
on Wellington's staff; Sir Colin Campbell, of 
whom more directly; and Sir John Burgoyne, a 
famous engineer officer, who had helped to 
construct the lines of Torres Vedras, and had 
served in the great sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo, 
Badajoz, Burgos, and San Sebastian. But the 

(After the Painting by Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A.) 

army was unprovided with the trains, transport 
services, and means of supply which are of little 
less importance than valour in the field ; and 
for the want of them, braven,- was as nought^ 
victories were wasted, and men's lives poured 
out like water. 

The three principal battles fought in the 
Crimea by the English were essentially triumphs 
for the rank and file. At the Alma it was sheer 
hard slogging, headlong rushes against a strong 
position, which was carried, in spite of all resist- 
ance. The fighting fell mostly to the share ol 
the I St and 2nd Light Divisions, the Guards, the 
Highlanders, and the Fusilier and Rifle bat- 
talions ; and it was done in the famous old 
formation — the thin red line. At one time the- 
Guards were hard 
pressed, and they came 
to Colin Campbell, who 
commanded the 2nd 
Brigade, sajing the 
Guards would be de- 
stroyed if they did not 
fall back. " Better that 
every man of He-' Ma- 
jesty's Guards should' 
be dead on the field 
than that they should 
turn their backs uporv 
the enemy," replied 
Campbell, as he hastened" 
with his Highlanders 
to their support. 

At Balaclava, when- 
" some one had blun- 
dered," and the gallant 
Six Hundred went into 
the jaws of death, the 
English light cavalry 
were all but destroyed, 
but it won imperish- 
able renown. "Magni- 
ficent, but not war,''' 
was the French gene- 
ral's comment on the 
mad charge : an attack 
by cavalry on guns in 
position ; but the Avhole 
of these reckless horsemen went forward with 
the same spirit that animated their leader, Lord 
Cardigan, who, rising in his stirrups, cried', 
" Here goes the last of the Brudenells ! " It 
was a hopeless enterprise, but it was performed ; 
and all the world wondered. 
Inkerman, again, was pre-eminently' the soldiers' 


battle — a hard personal hand-to- 
hand fight, where the Russians 
numbered thousands to our hun- 
dreds, and it was no less the almosi; 
impudent courage of the British 
than the impossibility to believe 
that so few could resist so many, 
except backed up by strong reserves, 
that prevented the Russians from 
carrying all before them. The attack 
was made at daylight, when the 
mists still lay thick on the ground, 
and concealed the meagreness of 
our forces ; the Russian hosts came 
on in dense columns along a narrow 
front which prevented their opening 
out, and our men in the proverbial " thin line "' 
could hit the head of the advance with tremendous 
effect. The onslaught fell first on Pennefather, 
who had won early fame at Meanee against over- 
whelming odds ; now, Avith a bare 3,000 men all 
told, he hurried down, and came to immediate 
blows against the Russians, nearly 20,000 strong, 
with powerful artillery. It was so throughout the 
battle. Attack was met by counter-attack ; our 
handfuls constantly met the shock of great masses, 
checked them, drove them back, and followed, 
fighting lustily. The Light Division, under 
Codrington — 1,400 men, no more — was as daring 
and tenacious. Until half-past seven, for nearly 
a couple of hours, these two kept the whole of 
the attackers at bay. Fresh troops then began 
to come up on both sides ; another Russian 
general's corps, that of Dannenberg — 19,000 men 
— renewed the assault ; the Guards and 4th 
Division came up to stiffen Pennefather. It was 
at this period that the gallant general made a 
famous reply to General Cathcart, who had asked 
where he could give best assistance. " Get in 
anywhere," cried Pennefather ; " there's lots of 
fighting going on all round.'' 

The final Russian attack v;as made about 10 
a.m., the sharpest and best intentioned of any in 
the da}', but by this time the opponents were 
more equal in numbers. Bosquet's Frenchmen 
had come up to support, and we had gained the 
help of the two celebrated i8-pounder guns under 
Collingwood Dickson, which 150 artillerymen 
themselves dragged from the ist Division camp 
to the field. This, with tvv-o batteries of French 
Horse Artillery, pushed gallantly forward to the 
" bare slopes fronting the enemy," had re- 
adjusted the balance of artillery fire ; and at last 
the Russians fell back, sullenly, overmastered, but 
they- were followed by no final charge. " When 

SOBRAON (/. 7). 

hopeless of success," the enemy " seemed to melt 
from the lost field ; the English were too few 
and too exhausted ; the French too little con- 
fident in the advantage gained to convert the 
repulse into a rout." The victory at Inkerman 
was but the prelude to terrible sufferings during 
the long-protracted siege, but these could be borne- 
with patience, because Inkerman had proved 
that we were more than a match for the Russians 
in the open field. Had we not won the battle,, 
the whole of the allied armies, taken in reverse,, 
would have been swept off the plateau in front 
of Sebastopol right into the sea. 

The fortress itself proved a ver}- hard nut to- 
crack, and although frequently assaulted, was- 
never actually taken by force of arms. The 
winter troubles, the inclement weather, the 
difficulties of supply which starved the troops 
and reduced the siege into a mere blockade,, 
forbade attack. On the contrary, the besiegecr 
displayed such activity under the intrepid Tod- 
leben, that the initiative often passed to them, 
and by bold sorties they gained ground rather 
than lost it. Even our incessant bombardments, 



causing terrific carnage, did not dismay the 
defenders, and fresh reinforcements constantly 
arrived. It was not till June that the first real 
assault was delivered, and then only through 
the indomitable determination of the allied 
generals. The French were especially hampered 
by tne interference of the Emperor Napoleon, 
who, with no military knowledge, claimed to 
control and advise from Paris. It was the first 
occasion on which the telegraph line began to 
be largely used in campaigning, a practice greatly 
calculated to paralyse the action of generals in 
the field. Napoleon was all in favour of leaving 
the siege to linger on, while field armies cut off 
the supplies to the fortress ; but 
Pelissier, the French general, was 
a strong man who held to his 
own views, and he persisted in 
attacking Sebastopol. 

Early in June the French took 
.the Mameion, the English " the 
Quarries,'' important outworks, 
and it seemed as if the end was 
near. But a second assault, de- 
livered within a week or two 
upon the Malakoflfand the Redan, 
was repulsed with terrible loss ; 
only a detached attack, under the 
English General Eyre, upon the 
Cemetery succeeded, and for a 
time we were actually within the 
walls. But we could not stay there. 
Two months more elapsed, chequered by the death 
of Lord Raglan, who had won the love and 
respect of all. and by another fierce effort, made 
upon our communications. The battle of the 
Tchernaya was fought nearly on the same 
ground as Balaclava, and was won by the 
French and the newly-arrived Sardinian troops. 
Then, finally, on the 8th September, the French 
stormed the Malakoff again, and this time took 
it. The English had the more difficult task, 
because the Redan, which they attacked, was 
constantly reinforced by the masses dri\-en out 
of the Malakoff. But our assault had not been 
planned on a big enough scale ; it was not pro- 
perly supported, although the trenches behind 
were crammed with reserves, and it failed. 
That night the Russians, feeling that in the 
Malakoff they had lost the key of their defence, 
evacuated the town, but not before the}^ had 
blown up tlie forts, and set the whole place on 
fire. The sight will neveE be forgotten by those 
who sav,' it, as did the writer. The town in 
flames, great forts crumbling to pieces as though 



by magic, heavy columns of Russians crossing 
the bridge under an incessant fire from the allied 

Peace with Russia had not long been signed 
when the British Empire was threatened in a 
most vulnerable place. For a time it seemed as 
though we might lose India. The revolt of the 
native or sepoy army out so suddenly — it 
was marked with such base treachery, disgraced 
by such cold-blooded atrocities — that the world 
still shudders at the details. The English were 
everywhere outnumbered ; our hold on India de- 
pended greatly on prestige ; implicit faith had 
been pk.ced in these ver}- mutineers. The force 
of white troops at hand was very 
small ; ver}' soon Upper India 
was in the hands of the insur- 
gents : only here and there little 
groups, generally isolated and sur- 
rounded, fought with desperate 
courage against overwhelming 
odds, almost against hope. No 
page in our national annals is 
more glorious than that which 
enshrines the heroism of those 
who then saved India. Not only 
were soldiers brave, but civilians, 
unused to arms, showed dauntless 
pluck — frail women performed, 
too. great deeds in defence of 
their honour. 
Although the whole country was 
more or less involved in the struggle, the prin- 
cipal interest was centred in the three great cities 
which were the scene of the fiercest efforts : at 
Delhi, Cawnpore, and Lucknow the conflict was 
long-sustained. Delhi, the seat of the new Empire, 
was thronged with mutineers from many neigh- 
bouring garrisons. It was held by numbers of disci- 
plined, well-armed troops, with powerful artillery, 
to the use of which the}- had been full}- trained, 
and it stood a long siege in which, at first, owing 
to the weakness of our forces, the besiegers were 
themselves besieged. But the little army was a 
band of braves led by heroes. Such men as the 
Nicholsons and the Chamberlains roused them 
to superhuman efforts ; and when the place was 
captured, after a three months' siege, it was 
carried by the assault of four weak columns of 
barely a thousand each. 

Cawnpore was another large station, which fel) 
at once into the power of the miscreant. Nana 
Sahib, who has earned for himself undying exe- 
cration as the most cruel and unprincipled of our 
toes. But the handful of Europeans would not 



easily yield ; many were only women and 
children ; the fighting men were few ; yet they 
held out in rough entrenchments for nineteen 
da3's, standing a siege under the tropical sun 
of June, and displaying a calm fortitude beyond 
all praise. Gentle ladies gave their stockings to 


make cartridge-cases ; they nursed the wounded, 
fed the troops. One brave woman — a soldier's 
wife — mounted sentry, sword in hand, over a 
number of sepoy prisoners. The roll of heroes 
was well filled at Cawnpore. Such soldiers as 
Moore (of the 32nd), Jenkins, Mowbrav Thom- 
son ; such civilians as Heberden and Moncrieffe, 
make us proud of our race. Who shall forget 
the cool courage of Delafosse, who stood over a 
tumbril of ammunition, the woodwork of which 
had been set alight by the enemy's fire — stood 
over it in imminent peril, while he tore off the 
burning timbers, and stifled the danger with 
earth ? And vet the defenders could not escape 
their fate. When resistance became hopeless, 
they capitulated under promise of a safe conduct 
to Allahabad, and a general massacre followed, 
from which only two or three of these devoted 
martyrs escaped. 

The story of Lucknow is very similar ; it is 
no less harrowing, but a source of equal pride in 
our race. The siege of the Residency, into 
which Sir Henry Lawrence retired with all his 
force and all their dear ones, was protracted to 
the utmost limits of endurance. ■ Lawrence him- 
self was struck down by an exploding shell ; 
but the legacy he left his comrades was the 
watchword '' No surrender ! " • His dying words 
were : '' Let every man die at his post, but 

never make terms. God help the women and 
children ! " Lucknow held out till it was relieved 
by Havelock and Outram in September, only to 
be again besieged when the relieving force had 
got within the lines. It was not until Novem- 
ber, when Sir Colin Campbell advanced with all 
the reinforcements that could be got together 
at Calcutta — bluejackets from the men-of-war, 
regiments detained on their way to China, a 
small band of volunteer cavalry recruited in the 
capital. He had to fight his way in. First, 
there was the relief of the Alum Bagh, which 
was held, although the enemy were in an en- 
trenched position before it ; then the capture of 
the Dilkhoosha Palace ; then the Martiniere 
Palace, which the enemy occupied with guns in 
position ; after that the Secundra Bagh, where 
the 92nd and the Sikhs raced up to the breach 
neck-and-neck. Other buildings were stormed 
— the Mess House, the Aloti Mahal — and from 
the latter an entrance was effected into the 
Residenc}-, which at last was relieved. 

Assuredly there has been no falling off in the 
spirit of the British soldier, singly or collectively, 
whatever his rank. Our most recent military 
annals record episodes as gallant and as credit- 
able to the pluck and manhood of our race as 
any that have gone before. Ever}' form of 
courage has been displayed : reckless daring 


enterprise, calm self-reliant heroism in the most 
despairing situations. Who shall forget the 
24th at Insandlwana, massacred to a man by 
the countless Zulu hosts ? A brave, pitiless, but 
chivalrous foe, who could pay the following 
tribute to their fearless demeanour in that 



unequal conflict: '' Ah, those red soldiers ! How 
few they were, and how they fought I They 
fell like stones, each man in his place." There 
is nothing finer, again, in war than the manner 
in which another British regiment — the 66th 
(Berkshire) — met death to a man at Mai wand, 
in Afghanistan. The general reporting it wrote 
that "history does not afford a grander instance 
of devotion to Queen and country-." The 66th, 
although outnumbered a hundred to one, re- 
ceived undaunted the furious attacks of the 
Ghazis or Mohammedan fanatics vowed to slay 
the infidel, and were gradually slaughtered till 
only eleven officers and men remained. This 
imall band stood back to back, unconquerable, 
still facing and keeping the foe at bay, until 
they were finally shot down from a distance. 

Another famous story is that of Rorke's Drift, 
when two young subalterns, Chard and Brom- 
head, holding a river ford which was the only 
possible line of retreat for Lord Chelmsford's 

OF WALES's I ' " 

force, were threatened_ by overwhelming num- 
bers. The Zulus Avere quite 3,00c strong, and 
the little English garrison no more than 130, of 
whom thirty-five were on the sick list. But 
there was no thought of surrender. A line 
of trenches was hastily contrived with biscuit- 
boxes and flour-bags, behind which our men 
fought gallantly the whole night through. At 
one time the hospital was a sheet of fire, and the 

feeble breastwork had been penetrated in more 
than one place. But the garrison never quailed : 
their heroic subaltern leaders never despaired, 
and they had beaten off their assailants when at 
davlight relief arrived. 

The only parallel to Rorke's Drift is the 
gallant defence of Arrah during the Lidian 
Mutin)-, when a handful of English civilians de- 
fended a detached two-storeyed house for seven 
days again*st an army of sepoy mutineers. The 
collector, Mr. Wake, with fifteen other civilians, 
fiftv Sikh police and one faithful Mohammedan, 
composed the garrison, and the assailants num- 
bered 3,000, with two field-pieces. They had 
but little food, a motley lot of arms, unlimited 
ammunition, and there was not a military man 
among them. But thev held out till they were 
relieved bv a man as gallant as themselves, Major 
\ incent Eyre, who was ascending the Ganges 
with a battery of artiller}' when he heard of 
the siege. He steamed back at once to Buxar, 
collected a small force of in- 
fantry, 154 bayonets in all, 
marched fifty miles to Arrah, 
was met by the enemy, twenty 
times his strength, but at once 
attacked them, and put them 
to flight. The sepoys could not 
face us in the open, even in 
such disproportionate numbers. 
The spirit shown collectively 
has, perhaps, been outdone by 
individuals. Endless instances 
of personal heroism exhibited singly 
might be quoted. What British boy 
can read without a thrill of the little 
Scotch drummer on the march with 
Roberts to Cabul, who, weary and 
footsore, refused to fall out, saying, 
" Nae, nae, I'll nae fall out till I've 
washed my hands in the waters of the 
Caspian '' ? What of Major White, 
of the 92nd Highlanders, the present 
PKixcE commander-in-chief in India, who 

cried to his men in the battle of 
Candahar : " Highlanders ! will you 
take those guns " — which Avere galling them 
terribly — " if I give you the lead ? " What of 
the men who followed him to their very 
mouth ? What, especially, of the little Goorkha 
warrior who went up with his Scotch friends, 
and v/ho took one of the first of the guns, shout- 
incr as he thrust his cap into the muzzle in 
sign of proprietorship, "This gun belongs to my 
regiment — 2nd Goorkha. Prince of Wales's J "^ 



What of Sergeant Cox, of the 72nd, bringing 
in wounded officers to Sherpur, and who, with 
only ten men, faced the whole garrison of the 
Bala Hissar and 
forced his way 
through, advanc- 
ing firing, till the 
enemy broke and 
fled ? The dhoolic 
bearers (the na- 
tives carrying the 
officers) would 
have set down 
their loads and 
fled, but Cox 
threatened to 
shoot them if 
they did not do 
their duty. Ser- 
geant Cox, b}- his 
coolness and in- 
trepidity, set such 
a good example 
that his men 

seconded him admirably, and all the 
wounded were brought ni sate to the 
cantonments. Cox had aheady re 
ceived the distinguished service meda 
for his gallantry in the campaign 

We have, of course, no monopol}- 
in brilliant feats of arms. Othcx" na- 
tions have shown equal prowess, 
whether against us or each other. 
Bravery, indeed., will never go out of 
fashion ; the will and power to show 
it, as well as the spirit to appreciate 
it, may be met with in every civilised 
country. Other nations, moreover, 
have bee^ tried more seriously than 
ourselves in longer, larger, and more 
portentous struggles. France sacrificed much 
treasure and many men in assisting the Italians 
to throw off the Austrian yoke, and the cam- 
paign of 1859 was distinguished by at least two 
great battles. Both are, perhaps, better re- 
membered by the colours called after them ; 
but Magenta was a narrowly lost battle, and 
Solferino was gained by the devoted gallantry 
of the French troops. Austria was an intruder, 
and had no heart in the struggle. 

The War of Secession between the Northern 
and Southern States of America was a deplorable 
civil struggle fought out to the bitter end, but it 
was full of pregnant military- lessoiis. full of btrange 

vicissitudes in which victory inclined to either 
side, of tremendous conflicts over a vast extent 
of country. It was a war which embraced almost 
a whole continent : the 
whole of America was 
affected, from the gulf of 
Mexico to the Rocky 
Mountains. The cam- 
paigns and battles were 


commensurate with the territory affected. In 
the first instance the two capitals of the oppo- 
nents — Washington and Richmond — were chiefly 
threatened. Both lay comparatively near their 
respective frontiers ; both were in imminent 
danger more than once. M'Clellan. after Frede- 
ricksburg was in striking distance of Richmond 
and Lee, but for Gettysburg, would have swooped 
down on Washington. 

But as General Grant rose in fame and au- 
thority through his splendid successes in the 
v>^est, he urged upon the Federal Government 
the necessity for more comprehensive operations. 
The Confederates, as the Southerners Avere called, 



could only bt conquered by something like ex- 
termination ; they must be attacked with equal 
vigour on every line, isolated alike from supplies 
and from supports. The North commanded endless 
resources, unlimited credit, the means of pur- 
chasing recruits without number, any quantity of 
munitions of war. The South, shut in within 
narrow limits, saw its population drained of fight- 
ing men, and was dependent upon blockade run- 
ners for powder and shot. Grant was absolutely 
right, as the end proved. When Sherman, having 
triumphed in the west, made the famous flank 
march from Atlanta to the sea, he could swing 
round and threaten Richmond from the south. 
This was the beginning of the end. Grant now 
reaped the benefit of his long-protracted, bitterly- 
contested campaign in the " Wilderness,'" north 
of Richmond, and the armies closing round 
Richmond, the surrender of Lee became inevit- 
able, and the Confederacy collapsed. 

The war had brought forward many heroes, and 
several great commanders : Grant, Lee, " Stone- 
wall " Jackson — the name he earned, some saj^^ 
(for there is another version of the story), because 
once, when hardly pressed, he said his men would 
stand like a stone wall — Stuart, the Southern 
cavalry raider ; Sheridan, a cavalry leader, hardly 
inferior to Seidlitz or Murat ; Sherman, Johnson, 
Hooker, and many more. Some of them were 
recurring types— Grant, silent as Moltke, and as 
tenacious and prescient ; Robert Lee, the patriot 
soldier, who thought only of his country, a man 
of duty like Wellington ; Jackson, who might 
have been a Puritan Cromwellian, praying and 
fighting by turns, a Charles Gordon in his 
absolute trust in Divine help, an Ironsides in his 
eagerness to smite the foe. The rank and file 
comprised all classes of the communit)- — artisans, 
handicraftsmen, scientists — and not the least 
remarkable features in the war were its engi- 
neering achievements : miles of road made in a 
single night, bridges built, forests removed, 
extensive entrenchments thrown up as if by 
magic when the order was given. 

The " Seven Weeks' War," as it has been 
styled by its historian, Colonel H. M. Hozier, 
was the first of the short, sharp, and decisive 
conflicts which are to be the rule in modern 
campaigns. It was between the Prussians and 
the Austrians, and it was fought for the future 
supremacy in the great empire of Germany. 
Before it no one knew how marvellously 
the Prussians had improved in the science and 
practice of war ; how admirably their troops 
were trained, how splendidly armed, an,d with 

weapons of the newest invention. Still less 
was it expected that untried Prussian leaders 
would develop such unexpectedly superior general- 
ship. From first to last this rapidly successful war 
was a surprise. It was carried into the enemy's 
country with extreme boldness and celerity ; the 
young soldiers of Prussia, under grey-haired but 
mostly inexperienced officers, soon established a 
marked superiority over Austrian veterans who 
had served in many hard-fought campaigns. It 
was proved in the earliest engagements that the 
possession of the needle-gun, the breech-loading 
rifle long carried by a portion of the Prussian 
army, but never hitherto used, put the Austrians, 
with their muzzle-loaders and their traditional 
belief in the bayonet, on very unequal terms. 
In the fight Austrian soldiers could not stand 
before the Prussians at all. Then the Prussian 
generals always out-manoeuvred the Austrian ; 
they largely used a system of flanking attack, 
of turning the enemy's position at one end ov 
side of it, while he was occupied and engaged by 
another attack on the front. 

These were the tactics that led to the crowning 
victory of Sadowa, or Koniggratz, as it is some- 
times called. After it the Austrians had no hope 
of success, and a retreat began, which soon after 
was completed by the ending of the war. At 
this battle the Austrians lost 40,000 men, the 
Prussians barely 6,000. Such is often the eff'ect 
of superior generalship and better morale. 

Not the least interesting part of this great 
battle was that Englishmen assisted in it as 
something more than mere spectators. The war 
correspondents of the Times on either side were 
both English officers. Captain Hozier rode with 
the Crown Prince of Prussia through the day, 
sharing his dangers as he noted the varying 
fortunes of the fight. On the Austrian side, 
Colonel C. B. Brackenbury was close by Bene- 
dek's side from first to last; and the Austrian 
commander-in-chief, in spite of his misfortunes, 
found time to ask for " his Englishman," and to 
praise him for his gallantry in facing the risks of 
the battle. 

War is said to be full of surprises ; and, 
again, that success is earned by the general who 
makes fewest mistakes. Napoleon III. felt the 
bitter truth of both these sayings. The Franco- 
German war was a terrible surprise to him, and 
both the Emperor and his generals made in- 
numerable mistakes. The French began by 
expecting a "walk over" — a parade march to 
Berlin ; they found they had caught a Tartar, 
and that they could not keep the Germans out 


of France. Napoleon had been assured that 
everything was ready for the campaign : not a 
" single button was wanting on a single gaiter "' 
was the boast of his War Minister, General Le 
Boeuf. Yet, when the first blow was struck, 
inextricable confusion still reigned within the 
French army — neither men nor supplies were 
properly organised ; while, from the very first 
collision, it was clear that the science was all on 
the German side. Man to man, the French 
fought as well as their opponents ; but they 
were never manoeuvred 
wisely nor judiciously 

On the other hand, 
from the moment war 
became ines'itable, 

everything worked 
with clocklike preci- 
sion. It is said that 
von Moltke, the fa- 
mous chief of the 
Prussians, had only to 
touch a bell and all 
went forward. Any- 
how, the Prussians and 
their allies were quickly 
mobilised, and able to 
take the field long be- 
fore the French. The 
Crown Prince fell up- 
on the French general 
when still unprepared, 
won the first battle, 
and held the advantage 
from then to the end. 
It was a strategical 
advantage ; in other 

words, the general movements of the armies 
put them in superior strength at decisive points, 
and this secured success all along the line. 

^Marshal MacMahon, beaten at Worth, had to 
retire, and become separated both from Bazaine 
about Metz and the army of the South. In 
between, the " Red Prince," with the ist German 
armv, held Bazaine ; and, after a series of fierce 
conflicts, the famous battles of X'ionvillc, Grave- 
lotte, and Mars La Tour drove him under the 
walls of the great fortress. MacMahon, frantic 
to regain communication with Bazaine, made a 
long detour — a dangerous flank march, as it was 
called — and found himself "headed off"" at 
Sedan, with the Germans circling round him, 
and the neutral territorv of Belgium, which 
he was forbidden to enter, ui his rear. The 


surrender of the French army at Sedan, with the 
Emperor Napoleon at its head, was a disaster 
from which France never recovered. It was 
followed by the surrender of Metz and the whole 
of Bazaine's army. Within five weeks France 
had been defeated in eight pitched battles ; the 
bulk of the French regular troops were prisoners 
of war. France was not yet conquered. While 
the Germans pressed on to invest Paris — while 
their armies moved north, south, and west — the 
new Government which had replaced the fallen 
Emperor made the 
most heroic and un- 
heard-of eff'orts to im- 
provise new levies. To 
place recruits and 
moblots — youths half- 
trained and inexperi- 
enced civilians — in the 
front line against regu- 
lar troops flushed with 
\ictcry, seemed hope- 
less enough. It is to 
the undying credit of 
the French nation that 
it was able to maintain 
the struggle for so 
many months longer, 
and to the sturdy 
patriotism of such men 
as Thiers and Gam- 
betta, who never de- 
spaired. France fought 
it out alone : she had 
no allies, or the result 
might have been dif- 
ferent. There are those 
who say that the in- 
tervention of a couple of English army corps 
in favour or France would have changed the 
situation. But it was not our quarrel, and 
England could not have thrown her weight into 
the scale, except on the most sentimental and 
insufficient grounds. 

Nearly five-and twent}- years have elapsed 
since tliis great struggle occurred, and its legacy 
of hate still rankles unappeased. France is 
once more as strong as her late foe — stronger, 
perhaps — and she is still pining to regain her 
provinces and her prestige. It m;iy be that her 
rulers and her people are loth to be the first to 
draw the sword : the cost of unsuccessful war is 
a dear price in these latter days ; and when she 
fights again it will be at the most fitting oppor- 
tunity, when chance and a better gause than last 

Reichard o-^ Lindner, Bcrliti. 

of prussia (.afterwards 



time may be on her side. But that she will fight 
some day is nearly certain ; and it is this con- 
viction which keeps Europe on tenter-hooks, and 
converts the whole Continent into a standing 

England, happily, has been spared any life 
and death contest, any war on the gigantic scale 
of the foregoing. But while her neighbours 
have been at each other's throats, she has been 
engaged in numerous " little wars " — wars mis- 
named little, indeed, for the issues have often 
been immense and 
the efforts made most 
severe. In an empire 
so extensive as ours, 
causes of conflict 
abound, and fighting 
must be frequent. 
Since the Crimea and 
the Indian Mutiny, 
we have had at least 
half a dozen cam- 
paigns. A diplomatic 
war with China, a war 
for supremacy in New 
Zealand, a war for the 
deliverance ot captives 
in Abyssinia, of retalia- 
don in Ashanti, of self- 
defence in Zululand, 
against a too-powerful 
neighbour, ot aggres- 
sion followed by 
""scuttle" in Afghan- 
istan, of interference 
in Egypt, followed by 
the dire necessities of 

In many of these the chief work lay in com- 
bating the physical and climatic difficulties. 
There was not much fighting in the march to 
Magdala, but it was a stupendous undertaking 
to convey a British arnw across the " mountains 
of Rasselas," to the nearly inaccessible stronghold 
of King Theodore. When Sir Robert Napier 
reached his goal, his troops had only four 
•days' rations left, other than meat, and every- 
thing had been carried up from the sea on 
fnule- or donkey-back. In Ashanti there was 
!the same urgency as regards supplies, but as no 
four-legged animals will live on the Gold Coast, 
the only means of conveyance was on the 
heads of native men and women. The organisa- 
tion of transport was one of the greatest, although 
not the only,, difficulty. There was also the 


climate, which was at times, and in most placbs, 
pestilential. There was the absence of all means 
and appliances, almost of food, and there was 
the certainty of encountering a brave, if savage, 
enemy in the field. How well the Ashantis 
fought was shown by their stubborn stand at 
Amoaful, and again in front of Coomassie. 

The most trj-ing phases of the campaign were 
those anticipatory to the arrival of the white 
troops. A small and select band of staff-officers, 
under the then new and little tried General Sir 

Garnet Wolseley, were 
sent out to prepare 
the way, to make 
roads and bridges, 
secure native allies, 
carriers, and last, not 
least, to hold their 
own as best they could 
against the enem}-, 
who was close at hand 
and threatening the 
very existence of the 
Cape Coast Colony. 
Within five months 
the Avhole of the ar- 
rangements were com- 
pleted ; two good black 
regiments had been 
organised and drilled 
under Colonels Evelyn 
Wood and Baker 
Russell, Rait's artiller}' 
was an eflfective body, 
and with these and a 
few sailors and ma- 
rines from the fleet, 
the Ashantis had 
been driven back to the bush. 

A good hard road had been made to the Prah, 
a rapid river which the engineers — under the 
indefatigable Colonel Home — had bridged, and 
when the English regiments arrived they had 
simply to go in and win. Two sharp engage- 
ments checked their progress, but only for a 
time, and Coomassie fell directly our army arrived 
before it. 

Afghanistan is a country that will be always 
memorable in British military annals for the 
vicissitudes that have marked our operations. 
The earliest war in i83q was a rapid and brilliant 
success ; within a short year, through the 
treachery of our Afghan foes, thousands of our 
countr}-men, their wives and children, were 
slaughtered in the mountain passes, and the 

.\ " 

^ * 

sq a; 
■_, « 
< =? 


country had to be re-conquered only to be again 
abandoned. The Afghans were ahvays trouble- 
some neighbours, and again in 1878 the insolence 
of the Ameer led to a new invasion. It was 
called a triumphal progress ; but there was 
some hard fighting — some brilliant feats of arms. 
The capture of the fort of Ali Musjid by Sir 
Sam Browne's column, the crowning of the 
Peiwar Kotal, and the opening of the Shutur- 
gardan Pass by General Roberts were successful 
operations that were followed by the flight of 
the Ameer, and paved the way to the treaty 
of Gandamak, by which we placed a new Ameer 
on the throne and stationed a British resident 
at his court. 

The second invasion of Afghanistan, in the 
autumn of 1879, was to revenge the base murder 
of this resident, Sir Louis Cavagnari, in Cabul, and 
it resulted in important operations. Sir Frederick 
Roberts, who advanced through the Shuturgardan 
Pass, direct upon Cabul, reached the capital after 
fighting the successful battle of Charasia, and was 
occupied in meting out punishment and strength- 
ening his hold until the winter set in. But with 
the early snows there came very serious troubles. 
Nearly the whole of the Afghan tribes had 
been aroused to a jehad^ or holy war, and the 
Ghazis gathered round the flag of a chief named 
Mohammed Jan to the number of 40,000. It was 
said that 100,000 might be expected to take up 
arms. Roberts' whole force, English and native, 
Avas barely 5,000, but the former were veteran 
troops, and the latter made up of Sikhs and 
Goorkhas, the bravest of our Indian levies. The 
force now arrayed against us was so threatening 
that he withdrew entirely within our lines, and 
there, practically besieged, held the enemy at 
bay. It was a humiliating change for an invad- 
ing army, but it was the only safe course to 
pursue. At last, Mohammed Jan was rash 
enough to attack Sherpur, and was repulsed with 
tremendous loss. We had not been strong 
enough to go out and meet him in the field, 
but he Avas much too Aveak to capture our 

Our restored supremacy Avas not again affected 
until the cniefs at Ghazni shoAved signs of tur- 
bulence, and a force Avas detached from Cabul to 
join hands Avitb. one coming from Candahar to 
punish the offenders. The battle of Ahmed 
Khel, fought and Avon by Sir Donald SteAvart, 
Avas a brilliant victor}' OA-er a most determined 
foe. Never in the annals of Afghan Avarfare 
had Ghazis shoAvn such indomitable courage. 
They came right in among our men, fighting 

hand to hand, pistol and SAVord against breech- 
loader and bayonet, selling their lives so dearly 
that they did great mischief before they Avere 
repulsed. A thousand dead Ghazis Avere counted 
on the field, and some of them Avere Avomen. 

But this did not end the fighting, nor did 
success ahvays smile upon our arms. Another 
Afghan army, advancing from Herat under 
Ayoub Khan, Avas met on the Helmund by 
General BurroAA's from Candahar, and a deplor- 
able defeat folloAved. The causes of the already 
mentioned disaster at Maiwand AA'ere bad general- 
ship and imprudence, but the sting of the defeat 
Avas somewhat taken out of it by the devotion 
displayed. MaiAvand imperilled Candahar, Avhich 
Avas speedily invested by the triumphant Ayoub,. 
and the garrison Avas in some danger. Tavo- 
armies Avere at once set in motion to relie\-e the 
place. General Phayre moved up from Ouetta ; 
Sir Frederick Roberts Avas sent from Cabul, to 
perform the great forced march Avhich has be- 
come famous in military history. Cutting him- 
self adrift from his base — an act Avhich is deemed 
most rash and generallv unjustifiable in militarv 
science — he started off Avith 10,000 men, hampered 
by 8,000 baggage animals to carry food and in- 
dispensable supplies, Avith 8,000 camp folloAvers^ 
to march 300 miles across an enemy's country. 
His troops Avere the flower of the Indian army, 
their temper Avas the finest ; no priA-ations 
checked, no terrors daunted them ; they bore 
Avithout flinching the Avide changes of tempera- 
ture — betAveen 45 degrees at daybreak and 105 
degrees at noon; they Avere never sure offood„ 
and they kneAv that certain death aAvaited then:* 
if they lagged behind. 

The march from Cabul to Candahar was ac- 
compli-shed in tAventy days, making an average 
of fifteen miles daily march during that time : 
a splendid feat in pluck and unyielding endur- 
ance ; and they reached Candahar travel-stained 
but uuAvearied, ready to join issue Avith the 
enemy directly they met him. Ayoub had 
raised the siege at the approach of Roberts, but 
he awaited him in a strong position ; and then 
foUoAved the decisive A'ictory of Candahar, fought 
under the Avails of the city, in Avhich the defeat 
at MaiAvand Avas fully avenged. 

The Zulu Avar Avill be remembered Avith mixed 
feelings : sorroAV for grave and regrettable dis- 
asters, pride at great achievements, Avhich in a 
measure atoned for and avenged them. We 
entered into the struggle a little too lightly, 
perhaps, although enough must have been 
knoAvn of our opponents to have exacted respect 



for their prowess. The Zulus were a military 
nation, every able-bodied man was a soldier, 
trained in the skilful use of his weapons, light 
of foot, ardent for glory, highly disciplined and 
drilled. The Zulu generals were admirable 
tacticians, and their now well-known plan of 
attack with centre held back and two great 
horns thrust out on each flank was quite scien- 
tific. Cetewayo, the king, a despot who could 
deal with his braves as he pleased, could send 
some 50,000 of them into the field, all ready to 
sacrifice their lives for him. 

Lord Chelmsford, when the invasion of Zulu- 
land was decided upon, did not command more 
than 16,000 men, of whom q,ooo were native 
levies. His plan of operations covered a wide 
front : his forces marched in five columns, widely 
apart, from the sea-mouth of the Tugela River 
to Luneberg and the borders of the Transvaal. 
The centre, which he led himself, was the first 
to suffer, and barely escaped annihilation while 
the general-in-chief was out on a reconnaissance 
with half his whole force. The enemy he was 
looking for, some 20,000 Zulus, swooped down 
upon the other half in an open undefended 
camp and destroyed it. The massacre of Insandl- 
wana, when a battalion of the 24th Regiment 
and a number of native troops were cut to pieces, 
would have been avoided with proper precau- 
tions. What even light entrenchments could 
do to stave oflF even overwhelming attack was 
seen the same day at Rorke's Drift. 

Retreat after Insandlwana was imperative. 
At one time it seemed as though the Zulus 
would pursue, and invade the colony of Natal. 
Fortunately, our arms were upheld elsewhere. 
The Tugela, or sea-coast column, under Colonel 
Pearson, had advanced some way towards LHundi, 
and had established itself at Ekowe when the 
news arrived of Lord Chelmsford's misfortune. 
After a short debate, it was wisely and bravely 
resolved to stand firm. Ekowe was roughlv 
fortified and bravely held against thousands of 
Zulus for more than three months, until it was 
at last relieved by Lord Chelmsford in person, 
who on his way up had fought and won the 
battle of Ghingilovo. 

Another column, under Sir Evelyn Wood, 
the nearest to the two overwhelmed at Insandl- 
wana, had also been hardly pressed. Wood 
was active, and his attitude firm. At the action 
called that of the Zlobane Mountain he was 
for a time surrounded, but in the subsequent 
fight, when he was attacked in "laager" at 
Kambula, his force gallantly repulsed quite ten 

times their number. Two companies of the 
8oth, with the fifth column, were, however, un- 
fortunate, and one of the detachments sent out 
to escort waggons coming in with supplies was 
surprised and destroyed upon the Intombi River. 
The Zulus had come upon them unawares in the 
mist — 4,000 men to 1 50 — and none of the British 
escaped alive. 

Presently reinforcements began to arrive, and 
before May the army numbered 22,000 men, of 
whom 17,000 were Europeans. A new general 
— the then Sir Garnet Wolseley — was also sent 
out to supersede Lord Chelmsford ; but the 
latter, utilising his greater means, was able to 


recover his prestige before the arrival of his suc- 
cessor. Fresh columns were organised; Generals 
Newdigate and Wood converged upon Ulundi 
from the north side ; General Crealock was to 
advance from the Tugela (but never got very 
far) ; General Marshall, with a cavalry division, 
joined in with Wood. 

The battle of Ulundi, when the king's kraal 
was captured and burned, ended the war. The 
Zulus by this time had lost much of their spirit ; 
they were " beginning to be frightened," as one 
of their own chiefs said ; and no doubt the^' 
now realised that the strength was on our side. 
Cetewayo was for some time a fugitive after 
Ulundi, and his pursuit and eventual capture by 
Colonel Marter and Lord GiflFord were not the 
least exciting episodes of the Zulu war. 

This was not to be our last campaign in South 
Africa. The war with the Boers, which fol- 
lowed, is not a brilliant chapter in our military 
history. In the Transvaal, as in Zululand^ we 



began by under valuing our enemy, and time 
was not allowed to recover our reputation. The 
fate of the general whose name will alwa\-s be 
associated with the Boer war was its saddest 
episode. Misfortune pur- 
sued Sir George Colley : 


he was one of the " unlucky.'' Opinions differ 
concerning his latest failure, but there are 
many who hold that the story of Majuba — of 
the craggy and, seemingly, inaccessible hill 
climbed by Colley and his devoted band, only to 
find death and defeat on the top — ought, with 
better fortune, to have ranked with Wolfe's 
scaling of the Heights of Abraham, or Charles 
Napier's desert march on Emaum Ghur. 

Eg}-pt has been our latest battle-ground. The 
campaign against Arabi and his insurgent troops 
may not seem a very glorious achievement, but 
the Egyptians were well disciplined ; they had 
admirable weapons, and they fought behind 
strong entrenchments, armed with most powerful 

The cavalry combat at Kassassin, the storm- 
ing of the lines of Tel-el-Kebir, were very suc- 
cessful feats of arms. Fighting of a much 
more serious character was in store for us 
before we were long in Eg}-pt. The Great 
Nile Expedition, for the relief of the ill-fated 
hero Gordon, was akin to those to Magdala and 
Coomassie, but it differed rather in scope and 

greatly in results. To ascend a mighty river, 
running down with a steady stream five miles an 
hour and barred at intervals by cataracts and 
rapids, was a greater task than scaling mountains 
or penetrating the bush. The enterprise was 
further hampered by the opposition of a most 
determined and courageous foe. 
" Fuzzy Wuzzy," as our soldiers 
christened the shock-headed Sou- 
danese warrior, was an opponent 
worthy of our steel. His contempt 
for British squares and British 
breechloaders has been sung in 
strong language by Kipling, the 
soldier's poet, and was shown by 
the recklessness with which he 
threw himself on the one and faced 
the other. Of all the brilliant 
battles fought by British soldiers, 
they may be most proud of 
Abu-Klea, Tamai, and El- 

It has been often said in 
disparagement of our small 
wars, that they have been 
mostly waged against savage 
foes. But this is surely to 
our soldiers' credit, for they 
have, in this way, encoun^ 
tered some of the most war- 
like races in the world, many 
of impetuous, of reckless fanatical bravery, who 
accepted none of the recognised canons and 
conventions of civilised warfare. To kill or be 
killed was the only watchword of the Afghan 
Ghazi, the stalwart Zulu, or the irrepressible 
Soudanese. There was no quarter, no making 
prisoners, e.xcept for subsequent butcher}-. In 
these desperate campaigns, our men fought with 
their lives in their hands. It was trul}- war to 
the knife, and called for the highest courage. 

Nothing shows this better than the many 
deeds of heroism recorded in these wars, deeds 
that earned the most coveted of English military 
distinctions — the Victoria Cross. A chaplain, Mr. 
Adams, in the first fight outside Sherpur, bravelv 
e.xtricated a trooper who was under his dead 
horse in a inclee^ and who would certainl}' have 
been slain. In the Mutiny, Sir Charles Eraser, 
now a gallant general, won both the cross and 
the Humane Society's medal at one and the 
same time for saving, under a heavy fire, a man 
who was drowning. In the closing affair of 
the Zulu war, before Ulundi, Lord William 
Beresford gallantly picked up a trooper, whose 



horse had been shot under him, and carried 
him off behind him on his own horse. The 
Zulus were near at hand in great numbers, and 
the fate of th,e fallen man would have been 
sealed. Commandant D'Arcy, of the frontier 
Light Horse, exhibited the same self-sacrificing 
courage on this occasion, but his own horse was 
wounded and fell under the double weight, 
whereupon D'Arcy mounted his man upon 
another trooper's horse, and saw them safely off 
before he rode away. 

Well, we have had our glance at the wars 
of the century — a cursory glance enough, and 
attracted chiefly by the red coat of the British 
soldier ; let us now turn over the leaves of 
our book, and pass from battle to battle. We 
shall ''go as we please " — passing from Plevna to 
Austerlitz, from Bull Run to Gravelotte, just as 

the spirit moves us, and unfettered by sequence 
either of date or place. Now we shall follow 
the fortunes of the Great Napoleon, now of 
Napoleon " the Little " ; now of Wellington, 
now of Roberts and Wolseley ; now of Moltke, 
Skobeleff, MacMahon, Sherman, Garibaldi. At 
one moment we shall be listening to the thunder 
of a broadside from the Victory, at the next 
to the bombardment of Alexandria. We shall 
pass from the shots and shells of civilised warfare 
to the assegais and spears of the Zulu, the 
hatchets of the Maori, the knives of the Sou- 
danese. We shall see all the glories of war, 
deeds of daring and heroism, acts of noble self- 
sacrifice and devotion ; but we shall see also 
that reverse side of the picture which should 
indeed be engraved still deeper on our minds : 
we shall see that its glories are outweighed by 
its horrors, its sufferings, its pitifulness. 


THE pleasant little frontier town of Saar- 
briick was a ver\- interesting place at 
the beginning of the Franco-German 
war. Within the distance of a mile 
from the low heights covering Saarbriick to- 
wards the west, ran the frontier line divid- 
ing France from Germany- The place was 
being held " on the bounce," for its garrison 
consisted merely of one battalion of the Hohen- 
zollern infantry regiment and two squadrons of 
the 7th Rhineland Uhlans. All along this 
frontier line down in the broad smooth valley 
between the Saarbriick heights and the loftier 
^nnd more abrupt Spicheren heights inside of the 
French border, the hostile piquets and videttes 
•confronted each other. 

As one stood in front of the little " Belle- 
\'ue " public-house on the Reppertsberg, one 
saw in the plain below among the trees a 
Prussian piquet of Uhlans and infantry ; and 
on the little knolls further in advance the 
videttes circling singly, their lance-pennons flut- 
tering in the wind. Several hundred yards 
further away, by the side of the Forbach 
road, was the frontier custom-house which the 
French now used as a piquet house. Outside 
of it the red-breeched linesmen were to be 
seen sitting or lounging about in considerable 
numbers. In their front was the chain of their 
videttes. All along the frontier line, to the right 
and left of this point, there ran this arrangement 
of outposts confronting each other. On the 
Spicheren upland a French force was gradually 
gathering until, by the end of July, the whole 
of Frossard's army corps was massed on the 
Spicheren, within gunshot distance of the low 
heights covering Saarbriick. 

In those pleasant early days, while as yet there 
were no graves on the Spicheren Berg and no 
shattered men lying in the Saarbriick hospitals 
or littering the platform of the Saarbriick rail- 
v\"ay station on the blood-stained stretchers, the 

opposing piquets and videttes formed quite the 
diversion of the Saarbriick people. After the 
day's work was over, the labouring folk used 
regularly to stroll up to the "Bellevue" to 
watch, as they drank their beer, the dropping 
fire, fain to see a German marksman proving his 
skill by hitting a Frenchman. Both sides were 
very cautious and few casualties occurred. As 
yet the Saarbriick hospital contained but two 
wounded Germans, both linesmen of the Hohen- 
zollern regiment. The French were reputed 
to be in force in Forbach as well as on the 
Spicheren Berg — as many, it was said, as 15,000 
men. Saarbriick, however, was in no trepida- 
tion and kept a good face with its little garrison 
of some 1,200 men all told. 

It was on one of the earliest of those early 
days that the midday table d'hote in the Rhein- 
ischer Hof was broken up abruptly b}- the report 
that French cannon were being moved forward 
to the edge of the Spicheren Berg. Immediately 
the drummers paraded the town, beating to arms. 
A company of the Hohenzollerns occupied each 
of the two bridges and a third marched up the 
hill and took up a position among the trees 
skirting the exercise-field. A detachment of the 
Uhlans rode up on to the heights, while the rest 
stood to their horses in the Central Platz. F'-om 
the " Bellevue " the French cannon were easily 
discernible through the field-glass, as they were 
being drawn forward into position by infantrymen. 

Almost immediately came apuff of white smoke 
from the mouth of one of the guns, and a shell 
struck on the road close by the little beer-house, 
bursting as it fell. There was a stampede on the 
part of the civilians from their beer-mugs in the 
" Bellevue," and the}- hurried into cover behind 
the crest of the height. They were onl}- just in 
time. Another shell, ricocheting off the road, 
struck the front of the beer-house, went througl: 
the wall as if it had been paper, and burst inside, 
blowing out the windows and part of the roof 


Four more- shots were fired, and then the French 
withdrew their cannon. Their practice, no 
■doubt experimental, was very good — of the six 
shells fired, three struck the " Bellevue." Two 
rooms of it had been blown into one, the bar 
knocked into little pieces, the furniture wrecked, 
and a great gap in the floor made by a shell on 
its way to the cellar to cause a smash-royal 
among the bottles. 

The outposts blazed away at each other until 
dusk. One of the last shots killed a soldier 
on patrol — he was the first man killed in the 
war. The poor fellow was hit full on the 
forehead, and he must have died instantane- 
ously. His comrades carried in the corpse on 
a stretcher improvised of their rifles. The 
drops of blood pit-patted on the road as they 
carried him past, the moonbeams falling on the 
pale dead face. Quite a lad he was, with the 
down hardly grown on his face — likely enough 
a mother might have been thinking of and 
praying for her lad, little knowing that he was 
lying stark and cold, waiting for a grave. 

The slow days passed in a strange bewildering 
calm, unbroken save by the trivial skirmishes 
occurring in the course of the constant reconnais- 
sances and patrolling parties. 

Frossard lay passive on the Spicheren save for 
the " potato-reconnaissances " his hungry soldiers 
occasionally made, sending out a screen of skir- 
mishers to the front while the working parties 
dug potatoes with great industry. 

Brave old Major von Pestel of the Lancers, who 
commanded the handful of men holding Saar- 
briick, had received an order from Moltke to 
evacuate a place which was regarded as unten- 
able ; but von Pestel pleaded successfully to be left 
where he was, on the undertaking that he would 
not compromise his little command, but would 
fall back as soon as serious danger threatened. 

Meanwhile he was never out of the saddle. 
Every afternoon he would come cantering over 
the Bellevue height with his cheery greeting 
and his shout, " Come along, English sir ! I 
go to draw de shoots of de enemy ! " The 
French marksmen expended a considerable 
quantity of ammunition on the worthy major ; 
but the range was long and they never suc- 
ceeded in hitting him, although certainly he 
gave them plentv of chances. 

But in spite of Major von Pestel's cordiality, 
it was rather a tedious time. Men asked each 
other if it were possible that the French on 
tne Spicheren were not aware of the Aveak- 
nesb of the land on the other side of the 

frontier. The Prussian infantrymen and Uhlans, 
it was true, were manipulated dexterously and 
assiduously to make a battalion seem a brigade 
and a couple of squadrons a powerful cavalry 
force ; yet it was felt that the place was being 
held only by dint of sheer impudence — for there 
were no supports as yet nigh at hand — and that 
the bubble must burst summarily if Frossard 
should abandon his unaccountable inactivity. 
Why the soldiers in red breeches lay so long 
basking lazily in the sun on the Spicheren slopes 
the men of Saarbriick could not comprehend ; 
but the day must surely be near now, they said 
one to the other, when the red-breeches would 
gird up their loins and roll their columns on 
over the Reppertsberg, the exercise-ground, and 
the Winterberg, and across the Saar into the 
Kollerthaler Wald or the Pfalz. In their path — 
surely th?;}' must have known it — there stood but 
an open town, a couple of bridges partially bar- 
ricaded with barrels, a single battalion of infantry 
and two reasonably strong squadrons of Uhlans. 
The 1st of August, while the French on the 
Spicheren Berg were still supine, brought to 
near Saarbriick what all hoped was the earnest at 
last of a host, not alone of resistance, but also ot 
invasion. On the afternoon of that day, the ist 
and 3rd battalions of the HohenzoUern regiment, 
with a battery of artillery, reached the vicinity 
and bivouacked on the edge of the forest at 
Raschpfuhl, some two miles north-west of the 

town. General Gneisenau also arrived and 
assumed the command. 

On the morning of the 2nd, when the Hohen- 
zollerns were basking in their sunshiny bivouac, 
the French Emperor, with his son, was travelling 
by train from Metz to Forbach. The German 
videttes down the valley heard the gusts of cheer- 
incr v;ith which Frossard's soldiers welcomed 



the Head of the State and his heir. Ignorant 
of the cause, some attributed the cheering to 
the announcement of a French success some- 
where ; others ascribed it to an extra issue of 
wine. How were the honest Uhlans to discern 
that the imperial parent had come to the frontier 
to make a military promenade wherewithal to 
throw dust in the eyes of his Parisians, and that 
" Lulu," as they impertinently styled the heir of 
the dynasty, accompanied his father that he 
might receive his " baptism of fire " ? 

The night had passed in quiet along the fron- 
tier, and in the morning it seemed as if the 2nd 
of August was to be as monotonous as had been 
the ^st. General Gneisenau and old von Pestel, 
now a lieutenant-colonel, had made a recon- 
naisbjaice from the " Bellevue '' and had come 
back to a leisurely breakfast. The soldiers in 
the barrackyards and in the several posts on 
the environs of the town, slept and smoked 
and gossiped, their arms stacked as usual ; the 
officers sat under the trees drinking their Rhine 
wine, and the whole place seemed oppressed 
by the drowsiness of a fervently hot day. 


But the torpor was soon to give place to alert 
activity. At ten a.m. Saarbriick awoke at the 
announcement sent in from the outposts that 
the enemy was at last advancing. The two 

companies in front of Saarbriick moved at once 
into the line of defence. The company from St. 
Johann hurried by at the double to occupy the 
" Red House." Major von Horn hastened to 
strengthen the post on the Wintt-rberg, which was 
most imminently threatened. Captain Griinder 
occupied the Lowenberg, and moved with Ley- 
decker's company and the rest of his own out 
to St. Arnual, where his rifle fire and the fire ot 
two guns sent to him from Raschpfuhi gave a 
warm reception to the enemy debouching from 
the Stiftswald. As some English spectators 
hurried up to the "Bellevue" height, there 
rattled past them at a sharp trot a couple of 
guns which the general had ordered to be put 
in position on the Exercise Platz. The battery 
chief waved his hand cheerily as he galloped to 
the front. 

From the " Bellevue " one looked upon an 
imposing spectacle. Three roads, crossing the 
plain from the wooded heights on the French 
side of the frontier, converge on Saarbriick. One 
of these is the great post-road from Forbach. 
Another, starting from the village of Spicheren,. 
winds tortuously down the right flank 
of the precipitous " Rothe Berg " — 
the " Red Crag " — crosses the hollow 
and enters Saarbriick between the 
Reppertsberg and the Nussberg. The 
third, further to the east, is a mere 
green track of considerable breadth,, 
which falls abruptly down into the 
valley by the pop- 
lar-clad slope from) 
the plateau towards 
St. Arnual. 

Down all these 
three roads were 
flowing from the 
upland dense and 
glittering streams 
of French troops, 
the stream on the 
great road flowing 
swiftest and fastest. 
The sunrays flash- 
ed on the bright 
bayonets, and 
threw up from the 
green or grey back- 
ground the red 
and blue of the uniforms. The troops came on 
in the true careless, irregular French style, with 
scarcely a pretence of formation, but with a speed 
that was remarkable. The moment that the head 



of a column reached the valley, it broke into spray. 
As file after file reached a certain point, it be- 
came dissipated ; the nimble linesmen extended 
further and further to right and left, till by the 

verge of the plateau, the gunners unlimbering 
and standing ready by the venomous pieces that 
presently gave fire from their wicked black, 
mouths. Higher up on the crest were visible 

lulu's d£but. 

time that the heads ot all three columns were 
in the valley, an unbroken but loose chain of 
skirmishers was drawn across the plain several 
hundred yards in advance. 

Then began the steady deployments of com- 
pany after company, battalion after battalion, 
regiment after regiment ; and almost before one 
had realised the situation, a long dense line had 
been ruled along the valley behind the more 
ragged line of the skirmishers. Squadrons of 
cavalry streamed down, and forming line ac a 
gallop, rapidly overtook the infantry. Passing 
through the intervals, they reformed and pushed 
on to occupy and cover the flanks of the 

While all this was going on in the valley, 
the streams from behind the wood and the 
hill seemed to flow from a source that never 
would run dry. It was hardly a break that 
was caused in it by the two batteries that 
came down and wheeled off the road on to the 

other batteries, apparently of larger guns. The 
peculiarity of the movements described was their 
perfect quietness and uninterruption. The 
French tirailleurs had already begun to breast 
the gentle slope leading up to the positions held 
by the Germans, when the chassepots began to 
give tongue ; and then the silence gave place to 
a steady rattle of musketry fire, through the 
smoke of which the main advance moved steadily 
and swiftly forward. 

Bataille's division formed the first line ; of it 
Bastoul's brigade on the right of the main road 
moved against the Reppertsberg, the Winter- 
berg, and St. Arnual ; Pouget's brigade on the 
left of the road moved towards the exercise- 
ground. In the second line were the brigades of 
Michelet and Valaze ; the remainder of Frossard's 
corps, the strength of which reached 35,000 
men, followed in reserve. An army corps was 
marching against a couple of battalions. 

Despite the disproportion, the Prussian defence 



rvas obstinate. It was only after a brisk combat 
ihat the weak detachment were driven from St. 
Arnual, the Winterberg, and the Reppertsberg. 
On the latter height a Prussian half-company met 
the French skirmishers with the bayonet, and 
then held them for a time at bay by a fire from 
behind the hedges. 

The final withdrawal was conducted slowly, 
in excellent order. Baron von Rosen held his 
company to the last on the exercise-ground. 
His steadfast soldiers, lying down between the 
trees, waited until Pouget's skirmishers were 
within 300 yards, and then poured in a fire so 
heavy that the French assailants were compelled 
to halt and lie down for a time. 

It was just as Rosen had received a peremptory 
order to retire that the few spectators who waited 
to accompany that movement witnessed the 
descent from the Spicheren height of a great 
cortege of mounted officers. The glittering pro- 
cession rode forward at a slow trot, crossed the 
intervening level, and then ascended the slope of 
the Folster height, around which was massed 
the regiments of Valaze's brigade. 

The cortege halted on the low crest of the 
Folster height ; and through the telescope one 
saw the group open out and leave isolated two 
personages on horseback, one of whom was 
clearly discerned to be Napoleon III. The boyish 
figure on the smaller horse, whose gestures were 
so animated, was presumed to be the young 
Prince Imperial ; and the cheers which rose above 
the din of the musketry-fire were taken to indi- 
cate the congratulations of the soldiers at the 
Prince's receiving his " baptism of fire " — which, 
indeed, it has been supposed, was the object of 
the otherwise pointless demonstration. Not on 
the Folster Hohe, but nearer to Saarbriick, under 
the trees of the exercise -ground, is now a stone 
with a somewhat brusque inscription, which 
being translated reads : — '' Lulu's Debut, 2nd 
August, 1870. Erected by H. H. Baumann, 
Veteran of 1814-1815." 

It was just as Rosen was withdrawing his 
company from the immediate front of Pouget's 
advance that a curious and characteristic incident 
occurred. Among the few civilians who remained 
on the exercise-ground to the bitter end was a 
gallant British officer, Wigram Battye of the 
famous " Guides," who died fighting in Afghan- 
i-stan in the campaign of 1878. A soldier was shot 
down close to him, whereupon Battye, who had 
been rebelling against the retirement, snatched 
up the dead man's needle-gun and pouch-belt, 
ran out into the open, dropped on one knee. 

and opened fire on Pouget's brigade. Pouget's 
brigade replied with alacrity, and presently 
Battye was bowled over with a chassepot 
bullet in the ribs. A German professor and 
a brother Briton ran out and brought him in, 
conveyed him later to a village in the rear, plas- 
tered successive layers of brown paper over the 
damaged ribs, and started him off in a waggon to 
the Kreuznach hospital. 

The French did not press upon the orderly 
Prussian retirement, and, indeed, both of the 
bridges across the Saar remained in the posses- 
sion of the Prussians. The firing had almost 
died out when, soon after noon, the French began 
to bombard the lower bridge and the railway 
station from three batteries which they had 
brought up on to the heights overhanging Saar- 
briick. One of these was a mitrailleuse, the 
storm of bullets from which swept the bridge so 
that nothing could live on it, and an unfortunate 
burgher, who did not believe in the mitrailleuse, 
had to alter his views on this subject when the 
lower part of his person was riddled by the 
bullets it poured forth. The Prussian artillerj- 
about Malstatt tried with four guns to make head 
against the French batteries, but had to give up 
the attempt and retire. The final detachment of 
Prussians remained under the shelter of Hagen's 
Hotel while the French were shelling the rail- 
way station, but ultimately ran the gauntlet and 
found refuge in the Kollerthal. The casualties 
of the day were trivial. The Prussians had eight 
men killed, four officers and seventy-one men 
wounded. The French loss amounted to six 
officers and eighty men. 

During their short stay in and about Saar- 
briick the French behaved with great modera- 
tion. General Frossard, on the evening of the 
attack, sent for the Mayor of Saarbriick, and told 
him that his orders were very strict against 
marauding, and that if any cases occurred the 
townspeople were to take the numbers on the 
caps of the evil-doers, when the fellows would be 
severely punished. But there was little occasion 
for complaint : the French soldiers paid their 
way honestly. They did, to be sure, drink a 
brewery dry, but the brewer refrained from 
reporting them. A corporal attempted to kiss 
pretty Fraulein Sophie — the dame dii comptoir of 
the Rhinescher Hof ; but a captain caught him 
in the act, ran him off the premises, and himself 
kissed the winsome lass. On the morning of the 
6th the Prussian troops were back again in 
Saarbriick : the French had gone back to the 
Spicheren position on the previous night. 


[^^_-4niiE- ^ --?» 


.^f D THEi]AKU:-Jp 





,l^/?^^^&^^tsrS>^ -i^TT^^^.^.^^^^^ .^^?^^~ .^^ 


: V v--^^--S^ .-^^i-£iJ-'^^x.^^ 

" There's many a victory, surely, decisive and complete. 
As meant a sight less fightin' than a hardly fought defeat; 
And if people do their duty, every man in his degree. 
Why defeat may be more glorious than a victory needs to be." 

THESE lines from a modern ballad put 
very clearly a truth that is too often 
forgotten. Victories are remembered 
and commemorated by medals and 
names inscribed in letters of gold on our regi- 
mental colours ; but people do not talk about 
defeats. Yet when brave men fail against 
desperate odds, the story of their gallant efforts 
to carry their flag to victory is quite as well 
worth the telling and the remembering as if 
the chance of war had given them the coveted 
prize of success. ' 

So it is that among the battles of the centur}- 
that should not be forgotten we count the one 
solitary defeat that English sailors or soldiers 
ever suffered at the hands of the Chinese — 
Admiral Hope's failure to force the entrance of 
the Pei-ho River at the Taku Forts on June 25th, 
1859: a failure amply avenged by the gallant 
storming of the same forts in the following vear. 
Taku is a town near the mouth of the Pei-ho 
{i.e. the "North River"), which, flowing between 
low, mudd}' banks, runs into the Gulf of Pe- 
chi-li. Thirty-four miles higher up the river is 
Tien-tsin, built at the junction of the Pei-ho 
with the Grand Canal. It is the port of Pekin, 
and a busy and prosperous place. Pekin, the 
capital, is some eighty miles still further inland. 
In the year 1858 the French and English had 
forced their way to Tien-tsin, passing the forts 
near Taku at the river mouth with but little 
difficulty, for the works were badl}- armed and 
neld by an irresolute garrison which made but a 
poor defence. 

When Tien-tsin was occupied, the Chinese 
asked for peace, and a treaty was signed there 
containing, among other stipulations, an agree- 
ment that the envovs of England and France 

were to be received at Pekin within a year, and 
that the treaty was to be solemnly ratified there 
Now the Chinese, as soon as the allies withdrew 
from Tien-tsin, began to regret having consented 
to allow the foreign ambassadors to enter their 
capital, and endeavoured to have it arranged 
that the treaty should be ratified elsewhere. 
But England and France insisted on the original 
agreement being carried out, and when the en- 
voys of the two countries arrived off the mouth 
of the Pei-ho in June, 1859, and announced 
their intention of proceeding up the river to 
Pekin, the}' were escorted by an English fleet 
under the command of Rear-Admiral Hope. 

It was found that not only had the forts at 
the river mouth, which had so easily been 
silenced the year before, been put into a state of 
repair, but that the river was blocked against 
anything larger than rowing-boats by a series 
of strong barriers. The admiral was informed 
that these had been placed on the river to keep 
out pirate? and it was promised that they should 
be removed ; but so far from keeping this 
promise, the local mandarins set to work to 
strengthen the defences of the river. On June 
2 1st, the admiral sent the Chinese commander a 
letter warning him that if the obstacles were 
not cleared out of the channel of the Pei-ho by 
the evening of the 24th, he would remove them 
by force. 

The three days' grace thus given to the 
Chinese he employed in preparations to make 
good his warning message. He had several 
powerful ships in his squadron, but none of 
these could take a direct part in the coming 
fight, for the entrance to the Pei-ho is obstructed 
by a w ide stretch of shallows, the depth of water 
on the bar being only two feet at low water, and 


hardly more than eleven at high tide ; and this 
only in a narrow channel scoured out by the 
river. Thus, for the actual attack on the forts, he 
had to rely on the gunboats of his fleet, a number 
of small wooden steamers of light draft built 

during the Crimean 
war for service in 
the shallow waters 
of the Baltic and 
Black Seas. The 
gunboats with 
which Admiral 
Hope crossed the 
bar and anchored 
below the forts on 
the 23rd were the 
following : — ■ 

OF 1859 AND i860. 

Plover^ Bantcrcr^ 
Forester^ Haughty, 
James, Kestrel, Lee, 
Opossum, Starling, 
each of four guns ; Nimrod and Cormorant, each 
of six guns. 

Each had a crew of forty or fifty officers and 
men, so that the eleven little steamers brought 
fort3'-eight guns and 500 men into action. The 
heavier ships outside the bar were to send in 
500 or 600 more men, marines and blue-jackets, 
in steam launches, boats and junks ; this force 
being intended to be used as a landing party 
when the fire of the forts had been silenced. 
No one expected that this would prove a difficult 

It was true that there was a big fort on the 
south side, with mud ramparts nearly half a 
mile long, and heavy towers behind them, and 
another large fort on the north bank, placed so 
as to sweep the bend of the river ; but on all 
previous occasions the Chinese gunners had 
made very bad practice with their guns, and had 
soon been driven from them by the fire of 
English ships ; and, besides, it was not supposed 
that there were any large number of guns in 
position on the forts, for very few embrasures 
had been cut in the mud walls, so far as anyone 
could see. 

On the evening of the 24th, no answer having 
been received from the shore, it was announced 
that the attack w^ould be made next day, and 
after dark the admiral sent in one of his officers, 
Captain Willes (now Admiral Sir George Willes, 
G.C.B.), to examine the obstacles in the river 
and see what he could do to remove them. 
Willes was accompanied by three armed boats. 

provided with explosives. Rowing up quietly 
under cover of the darkness the boats came 
first to a row of iron stakes, each topped with a 
sharp spike and supported on a tripod base, so 
that they were just in the proper position to 
pierce the side or bottom of a ship coming up 
the river at high water. 

This first barrier was just opposite the lower 
end of the South Fort. Passing cautiously 
between two of the spikes, the daring- explorers 
rowed up the river for a quarter of a mile, when 
they came to a second barrier, formed by a 
heavy cable of cocoa fibre and two chain cables 
stretched across the channel, twelve feet apart, 
and supported at every thirty feet by a floating 
boom securely anchored up and down stream. 
Two of the boats were left to fix a mine under 
the middle of this floating barrier, while Willes 
pushed on further into the darkness with the 
third. Just above the bend of the river he 
came to a third barrier, formed of two huge rafts, 
moored so as to leave only a narrow zigzag 
channel in mid-stream, this passage being still 
further secured with iron stakes. 

Willes got out on one of the rafts and, crawl- 
ing on hands and knees, examined it carefully, 
and decided that mere ramming with a gun- 
boat's prow would not be enough to displace it. 
As he crouched on the raft he could see the 
Chinese sentries on the river bank, but was, 
happily, imseen by them. Returning to his 
boat, he dropped down to the second barrier. 
The mine was ready, and having lighted its fuse 
the boats pulled down the stream to the flotilla. 


The explosion revealed their presence to the 
Chinese, and a couple of harmless cannon shots 
were fired at them from the South Fort. The 
plucky little expedition had been a complete 
success ; but before morning the Chinese had 



repaired the gap blown by the mine in the 
floating boom. 

Early on Saturday, June :25 th, the gunboat 
flotilla cleared for action. Admiral Hope's 
orders were that nine of the ships should anchor 
close to the first barrier and 
bring their guns to bear on 
the forts, while the two 
others broke through the 
barriers and cleared the way 
for a further advance. High 
water was at 11.30 a.m., and 
it was expected that all would 
be in position by that time ; 
but the difficulty of working 
so many ships in a narrow 
channel, not more than 200 
yards wide, with a strong 
current and with mud banks 
covered by shallow water on 
each side, was so great that 
it was not till after one that 
the ships had anchored, and 
even then two of them, the 
Banterer and the Starling, 
were stuck fast on the mud 
in positions from which it 
was not easy to get their 
guns to bear. 

All this time the forts had 
not shown the least sign of 
life. Their embrasures were 
closed ; a few black flags flew 
on the upper works, but not 
a soul was to be seen on the 
mud ramparts. It was a 
bright summer da}-, blazing 
hot, with a cloudless sky of 
deep blue overhead, and all 
round the little flotilla the 
dark waters of the river came 
swirling down on the ebb, 
so that already patches of 
yellow mud were showing here and there under 
the rush-covered banks. 

The Plover, with all steam up and the admiral 
on board, was close to the first barrier of iron 
Gpikes, and the Opossum, now commanded by 
Captain Willes, lay close by her, the special task 
of this ship being to deal with this first obstacle. 
At a signal from the admiral the Opossum 
hitched a cable round one of the iron stakes, 
and, passing it over one of her winches, reversed 
her engines and tried thus to tear the stake out 
€>f the river. But it was so well fixed that it 

was not until half-past two, after half-an-hour of 
anxious work, that the obstacle gave way. 

The admiral in the Plover now steamed through 
the gap thus formed, followed bv the Opossum. 
As the two little ships approached the floating 


barrier beyond, a flash from the long rampart on 
the left, the boom of a heavy gun, the whistle of 
a round shot in the air, warned them that the 
Chinese meant to resist. 

Along the walls of the forts on either side 
banners were hoisted on every flag pole, em- 
brasures were opened, guns run out, and from 
some six hundred yards of the rampart on the 
left, and from the North Fort out in front, the 
Chinese artillery, rapidly served and well laid, 
poured a storm of shot upon the leading ships. 

Promptly came the English answer. Admiral 



Hope's signal, " Engage the enemy," flew from 
the masthead of the Plover ; her four guns opened, 
three of them on the hig fort away to the left, 
not more than two hundred yards off, the other 
replying to the North P^ort, while the guns of 
the rest of the flotilla took up the loud chorus. 

It was a fight at close quarters, and the Eng- 
lish guns were worked by men who knew their 
business ; but the Chinese fire, instead of slack- 
ening, seemed to grow heavier every minute. 
If a gun was silenced, if a shell burst in an 
embrasure and swept away all within reach of 
its explosion, another gun was promptly placed 
in battery, another band of daring gunners took 
the places of the slain. They fired so steadily 
and aimed so truly, that to this day many hold 
that they had trained European artillerymen 
helping them. The iron storm to which they 
were exposed began to tell upon the two leading 
ships. The Plover had thirty-one out of her crew 
of forty killed or wounded in the first half-hour. 
Her commander, Lieutenant Rason, was literally 
cut in two by a round shot ; the admiral was 
wounded in the thigh, but refused to leave the 
deck ; and Captain McKenna, who was attached 
to his staff, was killed at his side. Nine un- 
wounded men only were left on board, but they, 
with the help of some of their wounded com- 
rades, kept two of the guns in action, though 
they fought on a deck slippery with blood, and 
with the bulwarks, boats, and spars of their ship 
cut to pieces by the Chinese shot. 

It was about this time that a boat flving the 
Stars and Stripes came pulling in from an 
American cruiser that lav outside the bar. 
Commodore Tatnall of the United States navy 
was on board, and he had come to the Plover, 
regardless of the Chinese fire, to offer some help 
to the English admiral. As a midshipman he had 
fought against the British in the war of 1S12, 
but, as the old sailor said to Admiral Hope, 
" blood is thicker than water " ; and though, as 
a neutral, he could not join in the attack, he 
offered to send in his steam launch and help to 
convey the wounded out of danger, an offer that 
was gratefully accepted. When he bade good 
day to the admiral and went back to his boat, 
he had to wait a little for his men. They came 
aft, looking hot and with the black marks of 
powder on their hands and faces. " What have 
you been doing, you rascals ? " said Tatnall. 
" Don't 3'ou know we're neutrals ? '' " Beg 
pardon, sir," said the spokesman of the party, 
" but they were a bit short-handed with the 
bow-gun, and we thought it no harm to give 

them a hand while we were waiting."' The 
incident is remembered in the navv to this day 
as a good deed done for the Old Country by 
Brother Jonathan. 

At three o'clock Admiral Hope ordered the 
Plover, now almost disabled, to drop down the 
river to a safer station, and transferred his flag 
to the Opossum, the Lee and the Haughty 
steaming up to the place left vacant in the front 
of the fight. A few minutes more, and a round 
shot crashed through the Opossimt's rigging 
close to the admiral, knocking him down and 
breaking three of his ribs ; but though suffering 
severely the brave commander made light of his 
injuries, a bandage was adjusted round his chest, 
and seated on the deck of the gunboat he still 
kept the command, and later on even insisted 
on being lifted into his barge in order to visit 
and encourage the crews of the Haughty and 
the Lee. 

" Opossum, ahoy ! '' hailed an officer from the 
Haughty. "Your stern is on fire.'' 

" Can't help it,'' shouted back her commander. 
" Can't spare men to put it out. Have only 
just enough to keep our guns going." But, in 
her turn, the Opossum had to give up the fight 
for awhile and drop down to the first barrier. 
The Lee and the Haughty now bore the brunt 
of the fight, and suffered severely. Everything 
that could be smashed on their decks was 
knocked to pieces, and the Lee was hit badly 
in several places at and below the water-line. 
Woods, her boatswain, informed her commander, 
Lieutenant Jones, that unless the shot-holes 
could be plugged she would sink, as her pumps 
and donkey engine could not get the water out 
as fast as it came in. '' Well, then, we must 
sink," said the lieutenant ; '' you can't get at 
the worst of the holes from inside, and I'm not 
going to order a man to go over the side with 
the tide running down like this, and our pro- 
peller going." But Woods replied by promptly 
volunteering to go over the side and see what 
he could do. His commander warned him 
that the screw must be kept going, or the ship 
would drift out of her place — so, besides the 
chance of drowning, he would risk being killed 
by the propeller blades ; but Woods, remarking 
that the chance of being killed was much of a 
muchness anywhere just then, went over the 
side, with a line round his waist and a suppl}' of 
shot-plugs and rags in his hands, and, diving 
again and again, and more than once sweeping 
down with the tide under the stern and rising 
just clear of the wash of the screw, he successfully 


plugged several shot-holes. But for all that the 
ship continued to fill, and before long had to 
give up ner place in the fight and run aground 
to prevent her sinking. 

The Cormorant replaced the Lee, the admiral, 
by his own request, being seated in a chair on 
her deck. He had already once fainted, and 
the doctors now persuaded him to allow them to 
send him to the hospital ship on the bar, and 
Captain Shadwell, the next senior officer, took 
the command of the attack. At half-past five, 
when the battle had lasted three hours, the 
Kestrel sank at her anchors. Of the eleven 
gunboats, six were disabled or put out of action. 
But the fire of the Chinese batteries was slacken- 
ing, and at 6.30, after a hurried council of war 
on board the Cormorant^ it was resolved to 
bring in the marines and sailors who had been 
waiting in boats and junks inside the bar to act 
as a landing part}', and try to carry the South 
Fort by a bold rush. 

It was after seven, and very little da\'light 
was left for the daring attempt, when the boats 
were towed in by the Opossum and the Toey 
' Wan^ 3. little Chinese steamer. Captain Shad- 
well took command of the landing party, which 
was made up of bluejackets under Captain 
Vansittart, and Commanders Heath and 
Commerell, R.N. Sixty French sailors, under 
Commander Tricault, of the French frigate 
Diihalya, the marines imder Colonel Lemon, 
and a party of sappers with scaling-ladders, 
under Major Forbes, R.E. 

As the boats pulled in to the shore, the fire from 
the North Fort had ceased, and only an occasional 
shot was fired from the long rampart of the 
South Fort. The landing place was five hundred 
yards in front of the right bastion of this fort. 
The tide had fallen so far that it was not possible 
to get any nearer, and the column had to make 
its way across these five hundred yards of mud 
covered with weeds and cut up with ditches and 
pools, the ground being so soft in places that 
the men sank to their waists in it. And as the 
first boat's crew landed on this mud bank, 
suddenly, to the surprise of everyone, the whole 
front of the South Fort burst into flame. 

The silence of its guns was only a clever ruse^ 
to lure the British to a closer attack. Now every 
gun opened fire again, while the Chinese, regard- 
less of the covering fire from the gunboats, 
crowded on to the crest of the rampart, and 
opened fire with small arms upon the landing 
party. As they struggled onwards to the river 
bank round shot and grape, balls from swivels 


and muskets, rockets, and even arrows, fell 
among them in showers. Captain Shadwell was 
one of the first to be wounded ; Vansittart fell, 
with one leg shattered by a ball ; dead and 
wounded men lay on all sides, and the wounded 
had to be carried back to the boats to save them 
from being smothered in the mud. 

Three broad ditches lay between the landing 
place and the fort. Not 150 men reached the 
second of these, and only fifty the third, which lay 
just below the rampart. Several of this gallant 
band were officers — Tricault, the Frenchman, 
Commerell and Heath, Parke and Hawkey of 
the Marines, and Major Forbes of the Engi- 
neers. Their cartridges were nearly all wet and 
useless, and they had only one scaling-ladder. 
It was reared against the rampart, and ten men 
were climbing up it, when a volley from above 
killed three and wounded five of them, and 
then the ladder was thrown down and broken. 
There was no help for it but to retire. 

It was now dark, but the Chinese burnt flaring 
blue lights and sent up rockets and fireballs, and 
by their light fired on their retiring enemies. 
Sixty-eight men were killed and nearly .300 
wounded, in the advance and retreat of the 
landing party. Several of the boats had been 
sunk, and many of the men had to wait up to 
their waists, and even their necks, in water, on 
the river's brink, till they could be taken off". 

It was I a.m. before Commanders Heath 
and Commerell, the two last of the party, re- 
embarked. Then the gunboats slipped down to 
the bar, a party being sent in next da}- to blow 
up or burn those of the grounded ships that 
could not be got off". 

So ended the disastrous battle on the Peiho. 
Next year an allied force of British and French 
troops, under General Sir Hope Grant and 
General de Montauban, taught the Chinese 
that, notwithstanding their victor}- over Admiral 
Hope's little gunboats, thev were in no position 
to cope with the great Powers of the West. 
While the allied fleets watched the entrance of 
the river, 11,000 British and Indian troops and 
between 6,000 and 7,000 Frenchmen were landed 
at Peh-tang, some eight miles north of Taku. 
A wide expanse of marshes separated Peh-tang 
from the forts which were to be the first object 
of the allied operations ; but these obstacles were 
turned by a march inland, in which the allies 
defeated the Chinese field-army at Sin-ho, on 
August 1 2th, and coming down the north bank 
of the Pei-ho, seized the walled town of Tang-ku, 
three miles above the forts, on the 14th. 



These forts were four in number. There were, 
first, the North and South Forts, which Admiral 
Hope had attacked the year before, and a httle 
higher up the river there were two others, known 
as the small North Fort and the small South Fort. 
The)' stood on opposite banks of the river, and 
were both alike — square structures enclosed by 
embattled walls of sun-dried mud, a few heavier 
guns being placed on a high platform in the 
centre, and the whole being surrounded with a 
double ditch, full of water, too deep to ford. 
Between the inner ditch and the rampart were 
broad belts of sharpened bamboo spikes, about 
fifteen feet wide. The swampy nature of the 
country rendered the approach to thej forts 
difficult for artiller}-. 

At first there was a difference of opinion 
between the two generals as to how the forts 
were to be attacked. It was agreed that as they 
were built to protect the river mouth, and their 
strongest fronts were toward the sea, they should 
be assailed from the land side ; but General de 
Montauban wanted to cross the river, and take 
the great South Fort first of all. Sir Hope 
Grant, however, insisted that a much better 
plan would be to begin with the small North 
Fort, and predicted confidently that if it were 
taken all the other forts would be quickly sur- 
rendered, as each of them in turn could bring its 
fire to bear upon those still in the hands of the 
Chinese. Happily, this plan was adopted, though 
the French general was so dissatisfied with it 
that he only sent a few hundred men to help in 
the attack of the fort, and came to look on him- 
self, without even wearing his sword, as if he 
wished to disclaim all part in the business. 

The swamps so narrowed the available ground 
in front of the small North Fort that the attack- 
ing force was limited to 2,500 English and some 
400 French. On the evening of the 20th of 
August, forty-four guns and three 8-inch mortars 
had been placed in battery before the fort. 

At five a.m. on the 21st they began the bom- 
bardment, which was to prepare the way for the 
storming party. The English fire soon began to 
silence the Chinese guns, and about an hour 
after the bombardment began, a shell from the 
mortar battery penetrated into one of the maga- 
zines of the fort. It blew up with a deafening 
explosion, and so dense was the cloud of smoke 
that settled down upon the scene of the disaster, 
so utterl}' silent was every Chinese gun in the 
work, that at first it seemed as if the fort had 
ceased to exist ; but as the smoke cleared the 
Chinese bravely- reopened fire. 

Down at the mouth of the river. Admiral 
Hope's ships were once more engaging the two 
outer forts ; but this was done merely to keep 
their garrisons well occupied, and to prevent 
them sending help to the smaller fort. Here, 
too, fortune helped the British, and one of 
Hope's shells blew up a magazine in the South 
Fort, doing a fearful amount of damage to its 

Soon after six o'clock the storming column 
was ordered to advance against the small North 
Fort, the English force being mainly composed 
of the 44th and 67th regiments. In front of the 
column a party of marines carried a pontoon- 
bridge for crossing the ditches ; but as they 
approached the walls the}' were met with such a 
heavy fire of musketr}- that the attempt to bring 
up the pontoons was abandoned. Fifteen of the 
men carrying them fell under a single volley. 

The French had adopted a simpler plan. 
They had bamboo ladders, which were carried for 
them by Chinese coolies. Heedless of the fire of 
their own countrymen, the coolies laid the 
ladders across the ditches, and, standing up to 
their necks in water, supported them while the 
Frenchmen scrambled across. '' These poor 
coolies behaved gallantly," wrote Sir Hope Grant 
in his journal, " and though some of them were 
shot down, they never flinched in the least." The 
fact is, that a Chinaman does not seem to know 
what the fear of death is ; and while these men 
were exposing their lives for a few pence, their 
countrymen on the ramparts were just as reck- 
lessly standing up on the ver}- crest of the wall 
in order to get a better shot at the stormers. 

The English crossed the ditches, partly by 
swimming and struggling through the muddy 
water, partly by the French ladders, partly over 
a drawbridge which Major Anson of the Staff 
very gallantly brought into use by crossing the 
ditch almost alone, and cutting through with 
his sword the ropes that held it up. 

The stormers were now crowded together 
between the inner ditch and the rampart. The 
Chinese could no longer fire on them with 
their muskets, but they dropped cannon shot, 
big stones, explosive grenades, jars of lime, and 
stifling stink-pots on to their heads. The 
scaling ladders were replaced against the ram- 
part, but the Chinese caught them and pulled 
them into the fort, or threw them down, 
spearing and shooting all who movmted them. 

Men and officers tried to scramble in where 
the bombardment had broken down the em- 
brasures for the guns. One brave Frenchman 




reached the top of the wall, fired his rifle at 
the Chinese, took another which was handed 
up to him and fired it, and then fell speared 
through the face. 

Another, pickaxe in hand tried to break down 
the top of the w-all. He was shot dead, but as 
he fell Lieutenant Bursleni, of the 67th, seized 
his pick and went on with the work. 

He and his comrade — Lieutenant Rogers, of 
the same regiment (now Major-General Rogers, 
V.C.) — climbed into an embrasure, only to be 
thrown out ; but Rogers got in through another, 
helped up by Lieutenant Lenon, who made a 
stepping-place for him by driving the point of 
his sword well into the mud w'all, and holding 
up the hilt. Rogers helped up Lenon and the 
others near at hand, and at the same time 
Fauchard, a drummer of the French storming 
party, got in close by. 

Behind him came the standard-bearer of his 
regiment (the 102nd of the Line), and as the 
Chinese gave way there was a race between 
the Frenchman and young Lieutenant Chaplin 
(now Major-General Chaplin, V.C), who carried 
the colours of the 67th, to see who would first 
get a standard fixed on the top of the fort. 
Chaplin, though he was wounded in three places, 
won this gallant race, and planted the British 
flag on the high central battery of the fort. 

" The poor Chinese now had a sad time of 
it,'' writes Sir Hope Grant. " They had fought 
desperately, and with great bravery, few of 
them apparently having attempted to escape. 
Indeed, they could hardly have effected their 
retreat by the other side of the fort. The wall 
was very high, and the ground below bristled 
with innumerable sharp bamboo stakes. Then 
intervened a broad deep ditch, another row of 
stakes, and finally another ditch. The only 
regular exit — the gate — was barred by our- 
selves. Numbers were killed, and I saw three 
poor wretches impaled upon the stakes, and 
yet a considerable number succeeded in getting 
off. The fort presented a terrible appearance 
of devastation, and was filled with the dead 
and dying. The explosion of the magazine 
had ruined a large portion of the interior. 
Many of the guns were dismounted, and the 
parapets battered to pieces." 

The Chinese lost 400 men out of a garrison 
of 500. The English loss was 21 killed and 
184 wounded. The loss would have been 
heavier if the Chinese had had better car- 
tridges. Thus, for instance. Sir Robert Napier 
(afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala), who led 
the advance of the storming column, was hit 
in five places by bullets, but none of them 
had force enough to do more than inflict a 

The capture of the remaining forts was an 
easy matter. The smaller South Fort, only 400 
yards from the North Fort, and commanded 
by its guns, was at once abandoned by the 
Chinese, and white flags were hoisted on the 
two larger forts ; but on the great North Fort 
being summoned to surrender the garrison sent 
back a refusal. The guns of the captured fort 
were turned on it ; other guns were brought 
up from the English batteries, and the attack 
was about to be begun by a bombardment, 
when General Collin eau, of the French army, 
noticing that there was no one on the rampart 
nearest him, marched forward rapidly with 600 
men, sent a lot of them in through a big 
embrasure, opened a gate, and took the fort 
without firing a shot. About 2,000 prisoners 
were taken here, and, to their great delight, 
they were simply disarmed and told to go 
home. They evidently expected to be mas- 
sacred. In the fort were some of the guns 
taken from the ships lost in the fight of June 
25th, 1859. 

In the afternoon the fort on the south bank 
was summoned to surrender, and, after some 
parleyings, Hang-Foo, the oflRcer in command, 
agreed to hand it over next day. Early on 
the 22nd Sir Robert Napier took possession 
of the southern forts, in which he found no 
less than 600 guns, large and small. 

The same day Admiral Hope's gunboats 
steamed up the river, and cleared away the 
barriers below wdiich the fierce fight of the year 
before had raged so long, and thus the defeat 
on the Pei-ho was avenged and the way to 
Tien-tsin and Pekin was open. 

A few weeks later, the armies of England and 
France marched in triumph into the imperial 

'-r-- -Q III 


THE night of ihe 26th of May, i860, 
came down on the city of Palermo, 
on the plains around it and on the 
hills which close ir in beyond, amid 
anxious uncertaint}' everywhere. Everyone was 
asking, " Where is Garibaldi ? " 

The city itself was held in a state of siege b\' 
its king, Francis II. of Naples. The sympathies 
of the great mass of the inhabitants were known 
to be with the Thousand men of Garibaldi and 
the Sicilian insurgents who had joined him in 
his march from the western coast to the hills 
above Palermo. 

No one was allowed to leave the city, or to 
walk through the streets by day in company 
with others, or by night without a lighted torch 
or lantern. 

Soldiers were picketed at the corners of the 
unlighted streets ; companies of soldiers guarded 
each of the city gates which had not been 
walled up ; and two lines of military outposts 
surrounded the whole city without. 

On the plain to the west and north of the city 
20,000 soldiers of the king were in camp ; 4,000 
more had for some days been pushing back the 
insurgents in the hills. Their general imagined 
it was Garibaldi who was retreating before them. 
No military man could understand how a thou- 
sand foot-soldiers, aided only by a few thousand 
ill-armed and untrained recruits, could give the 
slip to the pursuing columns of regular troops, 
and surprise the entrance to a city guarded at 
every point b}- battalions of trained men and 
commanded by the artillery of the forts and the 
warships in the bay. 

Even now the descent of the Thousand into 
Palermo does not become plain until we go over 
carefully the condition of the city on that fateful 
night, the situation of the various bodies of 
troops that were guarding it, and the movements 
down the mountain side of Garibaldi and his men. 


The Bourbons had now ruled over Naples, 
with the whole southern part of Italy and the 
island of Sicily, for 125 years. 

Ferdinand II., who was dead but a single year, 
had been peculiarly unfortunate through the 
whole of his long reign. During its first years, 
after 1830, the secret societies of carboiiart con- 
spiring against him multiplied everywhere in 
Sicily. The cholera year of 1837 reduced the 
pride of Palermo ; but in 1848, when France 
again gave the signal of revolution, the city 
rebelled and held out for a year and four 
months. For four weeks King Ferdinand had 
the city bombarded from his fort in the har- 
bour. This did not help to make the citizens 
love him the more when he finally conquered, 
and his name was handed down as " King 

In 1850, his young and inexperienced son, 
Francis, found things in the worst possible 

In the north, Italians had united under the 
King of Sardinia against the Austrians and the 
petty princes who had so long divided up their 
countr}-. With the help of France, the war was 
soon over. The Austrians were driven out of 
Lombardy ; the Duchies of Parma, Modena, 
and Tuscany expelled their reigning houses ; 
and a good part of the States of the Church was 
taken from the Pope. 

All these, with Sardinia, now made up the 
one kingdom of Italy, with Victor Emanuel as 
constitutional monarch. 

It was a long step forward toward the realisa- 
tion of what had hitherto been but a dream — a 
united Italy. And Garibaldi had been the one 
hero of its making. 

In Sicily a secret committee had been formed, 
under the name of the Buono publico (common- 
weal), to collect subscriptions among the nobles 



ana property-holders for the purchase of arms 
and other munitions of war. It was in constant 
correspondence with the revolutionary com- 
mittee existing at Genoa, of which Garibaldi 
was the soul. King Victor Emanuel M-as bound 
not to give open aid to any revolt against his 
cousin, the King of Naples, with whom he was 
supposed to be at peace. But it was known 
that his Government would pvit no hindrance 
in the wfty- Everyone knew also that no 
revolution would break out in Southern Italy 
except in the name of Victor Emanuel and 

The counsellors of Francis II. had but one 
remedy for this evil state of things — the remedy 
of King Bomba and all the Bourbons before him. 
The city of Palermo was strongly garrisoned by 
troops from the mainland — Neapolitans or Swiss 
and Austrian mercenaries. Then fuller powers 
than ever were given to Maniscalco, the director 
of police, and his spies were placed everywhere. 
At Santa Flavia, eleven miles from Palermo by 
the sea, an armed insurrection suddenly broke 
out. It was crushed at once ; but it was made 
the pretext for throwing several notable citizens 
into prison. Next Maniscalco was grievously 



wounded at the door of the cathedral, and, in 
spite of all the efforts of the police, the would-be 
assassin escaped with the help of the people. A 

reign of terror was now begun, especially against 
the nobles and the rich. In every house searches 
were made by Maniscalco's sbtrrt\ or detectives, 
for guns and swords and bayonets. It was felt 
that, among the 200,000 inhabitants of Palermo, 
onh' the soldiers, the host of Government em- 
ployes, and the countless members of the secret 
police were loyal to the king. 

At last the Committee of Sicilian Liberties, as 
it was henceforth called, decided that the time 
had come to summon the citizens to revolt. 
Rizzo, a master mechanic of means, organised 
the movement. The rendezvous was given for 
the night between the 3rd and 4th of April, at 
the Franciscan convent of La Gancia, in the heart 
of the city. Rizzo's house was next door, and 
the arms which had been gathered were secreted 
in an unused well of his courtyard. A communi- 
cation had been broken through the wall of the 
convent church. The friars were in the secret 
and in full S3-mpath3* with the conspirators. 
There was but one exception. He carried the 
news of what was going on to Maniscalco. 

It was eight o'clock in the evening when the 
betrayal was made. General Salzano, who was 
in command at Palermo, was notified at once, 
and the convent was soon surrounded 
by troops. Rizzo and twenty-seven 
of his companions were already inside 
waiting for the coming of the others. 
Day broke, and no one had arrived. 
Looking out through the shutters, the 
little band saw the soldiers under 
arms, and understood that they had 
been betra^-ed. They resolved to 
sell their lives dearly, and Rizzo 
opened fire from the windows. 

The troops brought their cannon 
to bear on the great door of the con- 
vent. Two shots were enough to 
batter it down, and the soldiers 
charged with their bayonets. They 
were met by the father superior, and 
ran him through on the spot. The 
insurgents held them back for a time, 
firing from the shelter of the friars' 
cells along the narrow corridors. 
Another friar was killed, and four 
more were wounded. Then Rizzo 
with his band made a last effort to 
escape in a determined sally through 
the courtyard, by the great door 
which the cannon had burst open. The troops 
were beaten back, but Rizzo fell with his 
leg broken by a bullet above the knee. The 


soldiers discharged their guns at him where he 
lay, inflicting lingering but mortal wounds. A 
dozen of his companions were taken prisoners 
with him ; the others made good their escape. 

The citizens, without arms and without a 
leader, kept to the shelter of their houses. The 
soldiers shot at anyone showing himself at a 


out the Neapolitan garrison of four soldiers, eight 
mounted gendarmes, and eight of Maniscalc's 
sbirri. On the nth of the month the picciotti 
swept down on a body of troops and forced them 
back to the bridge over the Oreto, almost within 
gimshot of the city. Soon all the villages along 
the coast and in the surrounding country were in 

(From a Drawing by J. W. McWhirter A.R.A.) 

window. All who were connected with the 
conspiracy fled from the town into the fastnesses 
of the hills. The insurrection was again over 
in Palermo. 

The picciotti — young men from fifteen to 
twenty-five years of age — had long been ready 
to join in the uprising. Iii the large town of 
Carini, ten miles to the west of Palermo, the im- 
patience was so great that they anticipated the 
signal to be given at La Gancia. On the 3rd of 
April the tri-coloured flag of United Italy was 
unfurled, and barricades were thrown up across 
the mountain roads. Misilmeri, a few miles to 
the east of the city, ne.xt took up the cry. With 
the two priests at their head, the insurgents drove 

full insurrection. The city began suffering from 
this blockade on the side of the land. All its 
provisions had to be brought in the king's vessels 
from Naples. 

At Naples the news of the revolt led to the 
taking of extreme measures. The vessels of tl^ 
royal marine, along with merchant ships appro- 
priated by the Government for the occasion, 
were despatched to Palermo. All were filled 
with soldiers and munitions of war. In a few 
days there were 13,000 of the king's troops in 
and around the city, to face the insurrection. 

In spite of the vigilance of the police, a news- 
paper from northern Italy had been smuggled 
into Palermo, making known to the inhabitants 



that the committee at Genoa was organising an 
expedition to (•f)nie to the aid of the Sicihan 
patriots. On the roth of April a secret messenger, 
RosoHno Pilo, who had been under proscription 
in his native bind for ten years, succeeded in 
landing safely at Messina. He made his wav 
from village to village b}- night. In the morn- 
ing the sign of his presence was found written 
on the walls — 
*' Vi'eite Garibaldi f Tlva Vittoric) Emaniieic ! " 

Soon, in Palermo itself, the very children cried 
after the shirrt as they passed— " Garibaldi is 
coming ! " 

Word was passed around that, on a certain 
day, all whose .sympathies were with the revolu- 
tion should walk in the fashionable promenade 
of the Via Maqueda — the broad, straight street 
that divides the city in two halfway up from the 
sea. Even the greatest ladies came on foot; 
there was no room for the splendid equipages 
for which Palermo has always been noted. Nc 
one was armed. All kept an ominous silence. 

Maniscalco was at his wits' end. He sent a 
band of soldiers and sbirri along the promenade 
to cry from time to time, " Viva Francesco 
Secoiidof^ There was no response from the 
crowd. Then the sbirri surrounded a group of 
the citizens and ordered them to repeat the cry, 
^''Viva Francesco Secondo ! ''' After a moment 
of deep silence one of the group, tossing his hat 
in the air, shouted, " Viva Vittor-io Emamicle ! " 
The soldiers bayoneted him on the spot, and 
then discharged their guns into the crowd. 
Two men were killed, and there were thirt}- 
women and children among the wounded. The 
mounted gendarmes charged on their horses, 
and swept the streets clear. But the ne.\t 
morning Maniscalco could read in huge red 
letters on every dead wall of the city, " Garibaldi 
vicnc ! " — *' Garibaldi is coming ! " 

II. WITH THE king's ARMY. 

The regular troops were now kept constantly 
on the alert, and daily and nightly drawn by 
new alarms from the city toward the mountains, 
it was useless for them to give chase to the 
picciotti in their retreat along the winding 
goat-paths of the hills. In return, they brought 
their artillery against houses sheltering the 
helpless women and children of the insurgent 

Ic was on the Qth of May that the demonstra- 
tion of the Via Maqueda took place, followed by 
the bloody poHce outrage on the people and the 
tlireatening prophecy written by night upon the 

walls. On the 13th word passed through the 
city that the prophecy was fulfilled. 

" Garibaldi has landed at Marsala 1 " 

It was on the nth of May that Garibaldi and 
his expedition of a thousand men succeeded in 
entering the island. Two English ships stood 
between him and the royal cruisers, which gave 
chase, until men and arms were all safely on 
shore. The two Genoese merchant vessels that 
had brought the expedition were abandoned tc 
capture, and the march began across the island. 
Nothing was left to the adventurous Thousand — 
old revolutionists and j-oung university students 
from northern Italy, Hungarian officers of 1848, 
and French and Polish sympathisers with all 
that invoked the name of liberty — but to take 
Palermo or die. 

The next day they were at Salemi, where, on 
the 14th, Garibaldi proclaimed himself Dictator 
of the island in the name of King Victor 
Emanuel. The guerilla bands and th^ picciotti 
began coming in from every quarter. 

On the 15th the Thousand came face to face 
with the royal troops, which had taken strong 
positions along the hills overlooking the road at 
Calatafimi, fifty miles from Palermo. The only 
pitched battle of the campaign took place here. 
The: picciotti, with all their goodv\-ill, showed that 
they would be of little use in open warfare. 
They could not endure the fire of regular 
soldiers, and still less execute the charges neces- 
sary for capturing the positions of the enemy. 
But the Thousand of Garibaldi were a host in 
themselves. The Genoese Carabineers were 
accustomed to his methods of fighting. Even 
the university students had been trained and 
hardened to practise his maxim, " Lose no time 
with artillery, but use your bayonets ! 

General Landi and his thousands of regular 
soldiers were driven back, and the next day 
they beat a disorderly retreat as far as Palermo. 
The picciotti, from the shelter of every rock and 
clump of bushes, picked off their men by the 
way. The soldiers, in turn, sacked and pillaged 
the villages of Partanico and Borghetto. The 
Neapolitan officers complained bitterly that their 
mercenaries preferred pillage to fighting. Gari- 
baldi, ever seeking to draw all Italians to him- 
self, praised the bravery of the Neapolitans while 
congratulating his own army on its victory. It 
had cost him dear. There were eighteen of the 
Thousand among the killed, and 128 were 

After a day of rest. Garibaldi marched for- 
ward, and on the i8th he was already on the 



mountains in sight of Palermo. There his men 
bivouacked in the rain. On the 20th he ad- 
vanced his outposts to within a mile of Monreale, 
whence the high road leads directly down to 
Palermo, not five miles away. He now decided 
not to try to force an entrance into the city from 
the side of Monreale. He could not hope to 
make his way across the plain and past the 
headquarters of the royal arm}-, even by night, 
v,-ithout sacrificing half his men. He chose 
instead a movement that, perhaps, no other 
military man of the age would have attempted. 
Garibaldi himself said ever after that it could 
have been executed only in Sicily, under the 
circumstances of the time. To its success it was 
essential that the enemy, lying below in sight 
of his own camp fires, should have no knowledge 
of what was going on until all was over. The 
picciotti may not have been able to take their 
part in regular battle ; but there were no traitors 
among them, nor in the mountain villages 
through which the expedition was to pass. 

The evening of the 21st fell dark and rainy. 
With nightfall the Thousand set out on a 
toilsome march by unfrequented paths over 
three mountain tops to Parco. Garibaldi v.ished 
to move round from the west to the south of 
Palermo, nearer to the sea. Their few pieces of 
cannon were dismounted and carried on the 
backs of the men. At three in the morning the 
little army was at its destination, wet, and worn 
out with fatigue, but without a man or gun or 
precious cartridge missing. The picciotli had kept 
the camp fires blazing above Monreale. General 
Lanza, who had just been appointed the king's 
alter ego in Sicily, was not to learn of the stolen 
march for many hours to come. 

The day was passed in taking up positions 
along the zigzag mountain road leading up to 
Plana dei Greci, six miles further back from 
Palermo. Only then, after a night and a day of 
toil, the men bivouacked around their works. 

At daydawn of the 23rd Garibaldi and Tiirr — 
the Hungarian, who was his other self in the 
expedition — climbed a summit whence they 
could command a view of Palermo and the 
plains around. The mayor of Parco had just 
provided the dreaded leader and his companion 
with sorely-needed trousers. They looked down 
on a gallant display of arms. With the exception 
of the necessary garrison for the forts and a few 
posts in the city, the royal troops were all in 
camp on the plains to the west and north of the 
city or by the headquarters of the general in the 
great place before the royal palace. Garibaldi's 

practised eye estimated their number at 15,000 
men, and new reinforcements were arriving. 
To oppose them in serious conflict he could 
count on not 800 valid men. 

Even as they looked, a body of troops, 3.000 
to 4,000 .strong, began its march on Monreale. 
When they reached the hills their movements 
were impeded by the ceaseless fire of the picciotti 
sheltered behind the positions left by the 
Thousand. The firing continued during the 
day and into the night. 

When the morning of the 24th came, Garibaldi 
could see that General Lanza, with thousands of 
men at his disposal, was carrying out a plan of 
attack skilfully designed to envelop and sweep 
awa}- his little army. Beyond Monreale the 
corps which had marched out yesterday was 
rapidly advancing toward Piana to surround his 
left. From below another strong body of troops 
was marching directly on Parco. Tiirr was at 
once sent to save their few pieces of artillery, 
and, with the help of the Carabineers diud picciotti, 
to guard the left. Garibaldi began hurrying on 
the march to Piana. Tiirr's men were soon 
attacked by three times their number, and the 
picciotti fied in dismay. The Carabineers suc- 
ceded in escaping amid the hills, while Tiirr, 
with two companies, held the enemy with his 

At half-past two in the afternoon the whole 
army arrived safely in Piana. In the evening 
General Garibaldi held a council of war with his 
colonels, Tiirr, Sirtori, and Orsini, and with 
Signor Crispi, a long-exiled Sicilian lawyer 
whom he had made his Secretary of State. He 
proposed his final plan, which was to deceive 
again and divide the forces of the enemy. It 
was put in operation on the spot. 

Orsini, with the artillery and baggage and 
fifty men for escort, began an ostentatious 
retreat along the road leading to Corleone, 
many miles further in the interior. For one 
half-mile the general and the bulk of the army 
followed after. The royal outposts on the left 
hastened to bring the information to General 
Lanza, who was commanding in person, and he 
at once sent his whole body of troops in cautious 
pursuit. In the dense wood of Cianeto, Gari- 
baldi and his men left Orsini to draw the enemy 
further and further away, vrhile they turned 
into a path that led to Marineo. 

The night was clear, and Tiirr and Garibaldi, 
as they marched side b}- side, looked to the star 
of the Great Bear, which the latter had con- 
nected with his destiny from a child. '' General," 



5aid the Hungarian, " it smiles on you. We 
shall enter Palermo." 

At midnight the little army bivouacked in 
the forest. At four o'clock they were again on 
foot, and at seven they were at Marineo, where 
they passed the day. With the night they took 
up again their 
secret march, 
and at ten they 
reached Misil- 
meri. La Masa 
was there with 
a few thousand 
ptcctotti\ and 
there were a 
few members 
of the Com- 
mittee of Sici- 
lian Liberties. 
These were 
told to notify 
their friends 
in the city that 
the attack 
would be made 
on the morn- 
ing of the 27th. 
Tiirr sent word 
to Colonel 
Ebers, his com- 
patriot and 
of the London 

Times in Palermo, to come out and share in 
the adventure. 

The day of the 26th was employed in making 
ready. Garibaldi passed the picciotti in review 
at their camp of Gibilrossa. Then he ascended 
Monte Griffone to study the city and plain 
beneath. The roval guards along this south- 
east side of the city were almost within hearing 
of a trumpet blast from his mouth. They did 
not dream that he was nigh. 


The sun set on the evening of the 26th in a 
mass of red vapours, portending the heat of the 
night. The army of Garibaldi was already form- 
ing on the table land of Gibilrossa, in the order 
which they were to follow in their attack on the 
Porta di Termini of Palermo. 

First came the leaders, with Captain Misori at 
their head, and three men from each company of 
the Thousand under the command of Colonel 
Tukery. They were in all thirty-two men. Im- 
mediately behind them was the first corps of the 


picciotti. The first battalion of the Thousand 
fallowed, under the command of Bixio, who was 
afterwards a famous general. Garibaldi came 
next, with Tiirr and the remainder of his Staff^ 
followed by the Second battalion under Carini. 
Last of all was the second corps of picciotti and 

the Commis- 
sariat. In all 
they were 750 
trained and ve- 
teran soldiers 
— all that was 
available of the 
original 1,065 
— with two or 
three thousand 
picciotti^ pre- 
paring to face 
18,000 regular 
troops of the 
It was essen- 
t ial to the 
success of their 
enterprise that 
the alarm 
should not be 
given in Paler- 
mo until as late 
as possible. 
Even if they 
had wished to 
follow it, there 
city. With as 
they clambered 


was no direct road to 
much order as might 
down the sides of a ravine which led to the 
valley opening on the highway. It was eleven 
o'clock when they arrived at this point. Tukery 
halted his men to see if order was being kept in 
the rear. The picciotti had completely disap- 
peared. A false alarm on the mountain-side had 
sent them flying. Two hours were needed to 
re-form the line, when it was found that their 
numbers were now reduced to 1,300 men. With 
all these delays, at half-past one in the morning 
they were still three miles from the city. 

They marched forward in close columns until 
they came up with the Neapolitan outposts. It 
was now half-past three, and still dark. The 
soldiers fired three gun-shots and retreated to 
their guard-house. This was enough to disperse 
two-thirds oi \\\q, picciotti \i\vo remained. 

The thirty-two men composing the vanguard 
of Garibaldi now dashed forward to the bridge 
over the Oreto. This Ponte dell" Ammiraglio, 



by a strange coincidence, was the scene of the 
first combat of Robert Guiscard, the NornTan, 
with the Saracen lords of Palermo, nearly 800 
years before, and of Metellus with the Cartha- 
ginians 1,200 years before that. It was now 
defended by some 400 men. The soldiers of 
Garibaldi first attacked them by a running fire 
from behind the trees along the road, and then 
entered on a hand-to-hand fight. A single 
captain, Piva, was able to bring down four Nea- 
politans with six shots from his revolver. Misori 
hastened back to summon Bixio. The first 
battalion charged, followed by Tiirr at the head 
of the second. The bayonets now came into play, 
and the Thousand had won their first position. 

The alarm was now thoroughly given. While 
the defenders of the bridge were fleeing to the 
right, a strong column of the royal troops ad- 
vanced on the left. Tiirr sent thirty men to 
stop their advance, and the rest of the Thousand 
charged past with fixed bayonets. 

The Neapolitans now fell back on the street 
leading: to the gate of Sant' Antonino, at the end of 

movement of his troops. It now served the 
purpose of those who were trying to overthrow: 
the rule of his son. The Neapolitan commander 
had already placed two cannons in the Via Sant' 
Antonino, and at every moment their shots 
swept across the path of Garibaldi. Even his 
veterans held back for a moment. A carabineer 
seated himself in a chair in full line of the firings 
to persuade the piccwitt to go on. 

Garibaldi now came up, just as his faithful 
Tukery fell mortally wounded. As if animated 
by his death, one of the leaders seized the banner 
of United Italy, and bore it unharmed through 
the enemy's fire. He was followed by five others, 
and, little by little, the whole line passed under 
the eyes of their general. He alone was on 
horseback, and the most exposed, as he urged 
his men forward. 

Two hundred men were soon scattered through 
the different streets of the city, nearest to the 
gate ; and their leaders penetrated to the old 
market, which had been the place of the revolu- 
tion in 1848. Garibaldi soon arrived in the 


the Via Maqueda. This road was lined with the 
houses of a small suburb, and cut across the street 
of Termini, by which Garibaldi's men hoped to 
enter the town. The old gate of Termini had 
been torn down by King Bomba, and the street 
leading to the bridge widened to facilitate the 

midst of the fire which the royal troops were 
keeping up on the rear of the little column. The 
members of the Committee of Palermo were 
waiting to receive him. He at once gave orders 
to make barricades behind, and thus entrenched 
himself in the midst of his enemies. 



The people in the houses remained deaf to his 
first appeal ; but b}- dint of calling they were at 
length induced to appear at the windows, where 
the sight of their deliverers gave them courage. 
Mattresses were flung from every window, and 
soon piled up over the barricades most exposed 
to the royal artillery. Then a few of the inhabit- 
ants began showing themselves in the streets. 
They had but one answer to give to the invita- 
tion to join with the invaders : '' We have no 
arms." But they lent themselves bravely to the 
tearing up of paving-stones for the barricades, 
and the soldiers of Garibaldi found places of 
vantage in their houses. 

With a part of his men Garibaldi now made 
his way to the centre of the city, where the Via 
Maqueda is crossed at right angles by the long 
Via Toledo (now the Corso Vittore Emanuele), 
leading from the port through the whole length 
of the city to the Royal Palace. The number of 
his men was greatl}- exaggerated in the imagina- 
tions of his opponents, and he easily drove back 
the royal troops close to their general's head- 
quarters at the Palace. The Bourbon Govern- 
ment had just been paving this street with large 
flags. These were now torn up and built into 
barricades, while waggons and obstructions of 
every kind were thrown across the neighbouring 

At this moment the bombardment of the city 
began from the Fort of Castellamare, in the bay, 
and from the Royal Palace. The war-ships with 
their great guns swept all the streets within line 

of their fire. Three days were next taken up 
with the constant advancing and retreating of 
the now infuriated soldiers of the king, aided by 
the steadv downpour of shot and shell on the 
quarters where the men of Garibaldi — the 
Italians, as they were now called, even by their 
enemies — had entrenched themselves. But the 
crumbling of walls only aided to the making of 
new barricades, and impeded all the movements 
of the regular troops. As the royal mercenaries 
abandoned their positions, they set fire to the 
buildings they had left. The convent of the 
White Benedictines was burned, with fifty of the 
prisoners who had been confined in it. All 
Palermo worked actively with Garibaldi and his 
men, in a fury of rage against the royal army. 
Soon there remained to the latter only the two 
forts of the harbour, the Royal Palace, and the 
post at the Flora below the Porta di Termini, by 
the bay. Even these could no longer communi- 
cate with each other nor receive provisions. 

Garibaldi had now conquered once more. On 
the fourth day the king's general asked for an 
armistice — to bury his dead. It was prolonged, 
and at last the king ordered that the troops 
should evacuate the city, provided that the garri- 
son in the forts might depart with the honours 
of war. To save the lives of the prisoners still 
confined, this was granted. On the 20th of June 
the last Neapolitan soldier had left Palermo. 
Two days later the Thousand of Garibaldi were 
on the way to deliver Messina, the last hold of 
the Bourbons in Sicily. 

"^4 !c^ ^^^^^ 


THE Red man has fought his last great 
fight. The long and bloody struggle 
waged between the White man and 
the Red for the possession of the 
North American continent has ended, and 
ended for all time : the weaker has gone to the 
wall. From the day in i6oq when Samuel de 
Champlain and his hardy followers burst upon 
the Iroquois at Ticonderoga, and, armed with 
sticks that sf>oke with fire and spat out unseen 
death he put these hitherto invincible warriors 
to flight, to the day when the United States 
were preparing to celebrate with unheard-of 
splendour the centennial of their independence, 
a ceaseless state of war existed between the 
children of the forest and prairie and the pale- 
faced usurpers. Every year had its tragedy, 
every mile its white gravestone in history. And 
as a fit ending to these centuries of conflict and 
bloodshed came the crimson tragedy of the 
blotting-out of Custer and his cavalrymen in 
the Bad Lands of the Yellowstone. Many 
notable tragedies, dramatic in execution as 
appalling in effect, marked the long years, but 
none struck home to the hearts of the American 
people with such searching directness and force 
as the finale to the Indian tragedy, in which 
Sitting Bull, chief of the Sioux, and General 
Custer, one of America's most dashing cavalry 
leaders, played the leading roles. 

Surelv never w^ere such Aborigines as the 
North American Indian ! Surely never in the 
history of the world did the White man en- 
counter so nearly his match as when he first 
plunged into the forests of the New World. A 
mere handful in numbers were these Red men 
at the best, and yet it can hardly be said that 
they were ever subdued. In turn they met and 
fought the Spaniard, then in all his glory, the 
Frenchman, the Englishman — long and savage 
wars these — and when Spaniard, Frenchman, 
and Englishman as such disappeared and the 

American took their place, the Indian fought 
him more fiercely than ever. When one thinks 
of the White man's countless numbers and the 
weapons which his ingenuity and handicraft 
supplied, the marvel is that the Indian has not 
long since disappeared from the face of the earth. 
But given their numbers and weapons and all, it 
has been estimated that in the wars which the 
White man waged against the Indians they lost 
more than ten killed to the Redskin's one. Yet 
notwithstanding the skill, the craftiness, the 
sensible recognition of existing facts, the clever 
stratagem and resistless ferocity which charac- 
terises the Indian nature, the level-headed way 
in which he set about his ^rars, to kill and not 
be killed his motto : notwithstanding all this, the 
prophecy of the great orator Red Jacket has 
come true. He said, '' When I am gone and my 
warnings are no longer heeded, the craft and 
avarice of the White man will prevail. My heart 
fails me when I think of my people so soon to be 
scattered and forgotten." 

The feud which began on the Atlantic coast 
hundreds of years before, was destined to end it? 
the far North-West, away up in a corner of the 
United States then almost wholly unknown to 
the White man, an angle of territory bounded 
on the west by the Rockies, and on the north by 
what formerly was known as Rupert's Land — 
British territory. The immediate cause of the 
trouble which led up to the massacre of Custer 
and his battalion was one which had often before 
provoked active hostilities. It was the refusal 
of sundry bands of Indians to settle down on the 
reservations placed at the disposal of the Indians 
by the United States Government. The Indians 
resented the attempt to confine them to re- 
stricted districts. The Red man of the prairie 
had been, from time immemorial, a notorious 
nomad. On his lean, shaggy, ungainly pony, his 
bow and quiver slung across his back, his buck- 
skin breeches and shirt fringed with horsehair 



I h 


and painted in gaudy colours, his long, greasy 
black hair stuck full of the feathers of the turkey, 
hawk and eagle, he had for centuries roamed 
the vast prairie at ^vill : now fighting his he- 
reditary foe, and again camping for weeks at a 
time on the trail of the m:'ghty herds of buffalo 
in their wanderings over the boundless prairie. 
For ages the chafings of restriction were un- 
known to him, until freedom had become almost 
as necessary to the savage of the plains as the air 
itself. This he enjoyed, until one day the advance 
guard of civilisation, a grizzly trapper, dressed 
in leather, and carrying a flintlock under his 
arm, peered out of the bushes and saw 
in astonishment the great rolling prairie, 
the home of the buffalo and the Sioux. 
The hardy pioneer soon followed, restless, 
and ever pressing westward ; and one day, 
the Sioux, sitting astride his barebacked 
pony, saw in amazement the long train 
of white-topped waggons — the prairie --- 
schooner — drawn by oxen, trailing west- 
ward through the tall grass, and realised > 
that his ancient fastness had been invaded. 
Immediately there began massacres on the 
one hand and retaliation on the other. 
The Sioux, the Bedouins of the prairie, 
were gradually driven back and back in 
the process. They strained fiercely at the 
bonds, but were unable to break them. 

During the winter of 1875-6 the autho- 
rities at Washington, after every peace 
able means had been tried in vain, found 
it necessary to sanction the use of force 
to compel certain refractory bands of 

Indians to cease their wanderings and out- 
rage, to place themselves under the control 
of the Indian officials, and to settle on the 
reservations set aside for their use. These 
recalcitrant savages were Sioux, than whom 
there were none more warlike and cruel, and 
in their raids they wandered over an area of 
something like 100,000 square miles in the then 
territories of Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. 
There were a number of these bands of* Hostiles," 
each having a chief of its own ; but as dissatis- 
faction spread among them, all gradually centred 
around two great chiefs, '' Sitting Bull '" and '' Crazy 
Horse." " Sitting Bull," at the time hostilities 
commenced, was with his band in the vicinity of 
the Little Missouri River in Dakota, and " Craz}- 
Horse" and band were camped on the banks of 
the Powder River in Wyoming. The region 
was a wilderness : rugged, mountainous, and 
deeply scarred by rapid streams and small 
rivers, and, as has been told, totally unknown 
to the United States soldiers. As guides to this 
unfamiliar region and to scout by the way, the 
command took with it Ree Indians under 
" Bloody Knife " Chief, and Crows, led by Chief 
'' Half-Yellow Face." These Indians did the 
scouting well, but the Rees took the earliest 
opportunity afforded them to slip away when 
fighting began. 

The first move made against these Sioux was 
on March ist, 1876. General Sheridan, a dis- 
tinguished leader in the American Civil War, 
was given the direction of the campaign, with 




headquarters at Chicago. General Terry held 
the active command of the troops in the dis- 
affected country. Subordinate to Terry were 
Generals Custer and Crook, at the head of 
mounted columns. Terry ordered these leaders 
to move out against the " Hostiles," specifying 
the route each Avas to take. Crook marched on 
March ist, and on March 17th encountered 
" Crazy Horse'' and his braves, and the command 
was so severely handled in the en- 
gagement that Crook fell back to his 
base. Custer had been unable to 
make a simultaneous advance with 
Crook, owing to the weather being 
so bad that it was found impos- 
sible to venture into the region 
of heavy snows and swollen rivers. 

The defeat of Crook made a long war inevitable. 
General Sheridan reinforced the troops in the 
disaffected region, and remodelled his plan of 
campaign. The troops were formed into three 
columns instead of two ; and as soon as the 
weather moderated, so as to admit of favourable 
progress, all set out to trap the Indians. The 
three columns were commanded respectivel}' by 
Generals Terry, Crook, and Gibbon. Custer 

"the warriors danced the war- dance 

The news of Crook's defeat spread like wildfire 
among the Indian agencies. Couriers sped from 
the camps of '' Crazy Horse" and " Sitting Bull." 
To every Indian encampment in that part ot 
the States one or more messengers came, and 
squatting on the hardened earth of some smoky 
Tepee, to the listening braves told of the killing 
of the Paleface and the triumph of the Red, and 
before he had finished his tale, wigwams were 
struck and loaded to the patient ponies, the 
squaws strapped their papooses to their backs, and 
the warriors, with faces painted in ghastly and 
fantastical streaks, danced the war-dance, snatched 
up their rifles, and mounting their ponies, set out 
to take part in reaping the harvest of scalps. 

would have led in place of Terry, had it not been 
that just before the setting out of the expedition 
he fell from the good graces of President Grant. 
Indeed, so displeased was Grant with Custer, 
that he sent definite instructions that Custer 
was not to be allowed to accompany the ex- 
pedition ; and it was only after a personal appeal 
to Grant by Custer, and the intercession of 
Sheridan, that the famous cavalry leader was 
allowed to take his place at the head of his 
regiment and march away, never to return. 

George Armstrong Custer's career, from the 
day he graduated at the United States Military 
Academy to the day of his death, fifteen years 
after, was one of meteoric brilliancy. A native 



of New Rumley, Ohio, he graduated at West 
Point on the very outbreak of the Civil War. 
From West Point he went direct to Washington, 
and on the day of his arrival at the capital he 
was entrusted by General Scott with despatches 
tor General McDowell, then on his way with the 
army of the Potomac to fight the first general 
battle of the Civil War— Bull Run. 

Custer arrived in the nick of time, was assigned 
to dutv as lieutenant of the 5th Cavalr}-, and took 
his place in the company just in time to take part 
in the fight that followed. In his first battles he 
attracted the attention of his superior officers by 
his daring and dash and his brilliancy in handling 
men ; and in 1862 his many exploits effected his 
promotion to the captaincy of the company. 

teetotaller, and abstainer from the use of tobacco. 
Such was the soldier who took his place in com- 
mand of the 7th United States Cavalry and rode 
away to the Bad Lands of the Yellowstone. 

On May 17th the column marched from Fort 
Abraham Lincoln, on the Missouri River, and 
proceeding by easy stages, crossed the Little 
Missouri River on May 31st, and camped on the 
banks of the Powder, a tributary of the Yellow- 
stone. The 7th Cavalry was divided into two 
columns, commanded by Major Reno and 
Captain Benteen. As the Indian country had 
now been reached, on June lOth General Terry 
sent Major Reno with his command (six troops) 
to scout up the Powder, and General Custer, 
with the left wing of the 7th, marched to the 



■«Sfr^- ->. 


Immediately afterwards, b}^ a clever ruse, he 
surprised the Southerners and captured the first 
colours taken by the army of the Potomac from 
the South in the war. 

Continuing as he had begun, in each suc- 
cessive engagement he did some notable deed 
which brought him again and again to the 
attention of his superior officers, and in 1865 
he had risen to the position of Brigadier-General 
of Volunteers, and was given command of the 
Michigan brigades. 

He participated in all but one of the battles 
of the army of the Potomac, and was in a 
position to say with truth to his men : " You 
have never lost a gun, never lost a colour, 'and 
never been defeated ; and notwithstanding the 
numerous engagements in which you have borne 
a prominent part, you have captured every piece 
of artillery which the enemy has dared to open 
upon you." He was a man of close upon six 
feet in height, lithe^ active, handsome, a staunch 

mouth of the Tongue and there awaited Reno's 
return. The major reached Custer's camp on 
the iqth, and reported plenty of Indian "signs" 
leading up the banks of the Rosebud. The 
whole command set out at once for that stream 
and pitched tents at its mouth on June 21st, and 
made ready for immediate active operations. 
At a consultation between Generals Terry, 
Gibbon and Custer, it was arranged that the 7th 
United States Cavalry, commanded in person by 
General Custer, should set out on the trail Major 
Reno had discovered, overtake the Indians, corner 
them, and bring about a fight. This they did. 

With truly Anglo-Saxon superiority the 
generals wofully under-estimated the fighting 
strength of the foe. General Custer, with his 
700 cavalrymen, believed he would be able to 
cope with more savages than he was likelv to 
have the good fortune to meet, and his brother 
generals were under the same impression. 
They found out their mistake when too late. 


" Sitting Bull," chief of a band of LTncpapa 
Sioux Indians, was at this time forty-two years 
old. A great, squatty, hulking, low-browed 
savage, of forbidding looks and enormous 
strength, and in height as near as might be to 
five feet eight inches. He had the reputation 
among his own followers, as well as the warriors 
of other bands, of being a Medicine-man of mark, 
a dealer in omens, a conjurer of demons, a 
weaver of magic, a foreteller of dire events, and 
a familiar of departed spirits. Outside of his 
magic he was known as a coward, but this 
defect they overlooked in the belief that his 
soothsayings fully compensated for the de- 
ficiency in his personal valour. Their faith in 
his incantations was unbounded. In the fight of 
the Little Big Horn, " Sitting Bull " divided his 
energies between getting as far from the scene 
of strife as his fat legs would carry him, and 
performing fanatical rites to the confounding 
of the White man. The actual leaders in the 
fight were " Crazy Horse," " Gall," and " Crow 
King " ; and in a lesser degree, " Low Dog," 
" Big Road," " Hump," '' Spotted Eagle," and 
" Little Horse." all chiefs of bands and men of 
ability and unflinching personal courage. These 
superintended the movements of the " Hos- 
tiles," and by their personal feats of daring 
encouraged their followers, while " Sitting Bull "' 
looked after the Fates and took the kudos of 
the game. 

At noon on June 22nd Custer and his men 
set out for the wilderness. Warnings and omens 
do not seem to have been confined to the wig- 
wam of the Red man, for on the fatal . march 
to the Little Big Horn there were many that 
foretold disaster to the expedition. 

Captain Godfrey, who marched with the 
columns, in his written account of the calamitous 
affair, mentions many incidents which were taken 
to point to disaster. He tells, for instance, that 
on the evening of the first day of their march 
Custer sent for his oflficers. 

After a " talk," Lieutenant Wallace said to 
Godfrey, as they walked away from the general's 
tent, " Godfrey, I believe General Custer is 
going to be killed." Asked his reasons for this 
belief, he simply answered : " I have never heard 
Custer speak in that way before." 

A little later in the evening Captain Godfrey 
came upon a camp-fire, around which sat 
" Bloody Knife," " Half- Yellow-Face," and the 
interpreter Bouyer. The half-breed asked the 
captain if he had ever fought against the Sioux. 
Answered in the affirmative, the interpreter 

gazed into the fire for a few moments before 
saying emphatically, " I can tell you we are 
going to have a big fight." 

Then again an ominous thing happened. The 
general's headquarters-flag was blown down and 
fell to the rear, and in being replanted again 
fell to the rear. 

These and many other eerie happenings seem 
to have sent a thrill of foreboding through the 
whole command as it went on its wav to the 
unexplored valley of the Little Big Horn. In 
their tents, when night had fallen and the fires 
were out — for on this march no fire burned and 
nothing was done likely to attract the eye of 
any Indian who might happen to be roaming 
about in the vicinity — the men sat in the dark 
and told stories of scalpings and burnings at the 
stake. Even the Red scouts caught the pre- 
vailing current of premonition, and hastened to 
their Medicine-man to be anointed as a charm 
against the cruelty of the dreaded Sioux. 

During the march up the Rosebud, Indian 
*' signs " were met with at everv turn. Camping- 
place after camping-place was found. The 
grass had been closely cropped by herds of 
ponies ; the ashes of a hundred camp-fires lay 
grey on the bare ground. On June 24th the 
column passed a great camping-place, the gaunt 
frame of a huge sundance-lodge still standing, 
and against one of the posts the scalp of a White 
man fluttered in the wind. 

Soon after this- the Crow scouts, who had 
been working energetically, returned to the 
camp and reported to Custer that although 
they had come across no Sioux, still, from 
indications discovered, they felt sure that the 
command was in the neighbourhood of an 
encampment. That night the column was 
divided into two, so as to raise as little dust 
as possible, and made a forced march ; and on 
the morning of June 25th Custer, in a personal 
reconnoitre, discovered the foe of which he was 
in search. Although he found himself unable 
to locate the actual village, he saw great herds 
of ponies, saw the smoke curling up in the 
air of morning, and heard the barking of the 
dogs, denoting the presence of a village behind 
a hill that lay in front of him. It had been 
Custer's intention to remain quietly where his 
command rested until night fell, when he would 
advance his forces, and in the grey of morning 
sweep down upon the Sioux. But this plan 
miscarried. Word reached the leader that a 
Sioux Indian had discovered the presence of 
the United States troops and had galloped off 



to warn his tribe. Custer resolved to attack 
at once. 

The command set out for " Sitting Bull's " 
village shortly before noon. It was divided into 
three battalions — Major Reno commanding the 
advance, General Custer following with the 
second, and Captain Benteen the third, the pack 
train being under the charge of Lieutenant 
Mathey. Custer's battalion consisted of Troops 
*' C," commanded by the general's brother, T. W. 
Custer ; " I," Captain Keogh ; " F,'' Captain 
Yates ; " E," Lieutenants Smith and Sturgis ; 
*' L," Lieutenants Calhoun and Crittenden ; 
with Lieutenant Cook adjutant, and Dr. G. E. 
Lord medical officer. 

The whole command marched down a valley 
for some -distance and then separated, intending 
to strike the village at diflferent points. Custer's 
battalion took to the right to cross the hills 
and ride down upon the encampment, and Major 
Reno branched off to the left and forded the 
Little Big Horn — a stream that gives the battle 
its name — at the mouth of a stream now called 
Benteen's Creek. As they were separating, 
Custer sent an order to Reno to " move forward 
at as rapid gait as he thought prudent, and 
charge the village afterwards, and the whole 
outfit would support him.'' 

After separation the onlv word received from 
Custer was an order signed by the adjutant, and 
addressed to Captain Benteen, which read : 
*' Benteen, come on. Big village. Be quick. 
Bring Packs ; '' and a postscript, " Bring Packs." 
About the time this message must have been 
despatched, those with Reno beheld the general 
and his men on top of a hill two miles or more 
away, looking down upon the village, and saw 
Custer take off his liat and wave it in the air, 
as if either beckoning the other battalions to his 
assistance or cheering his men. 

The battalion disappeared over the brow of the 
hill, and after that no word or sign ever came irom 
Custer or anyone of his whole command , Not a 
man of the hundreds that followed the general 
in the charge lived to tell the tale. The bat- 
talion was simply wiped out ol existence. In after 
years, some of the Indians who took part in the 
massacre, laying aside their inbred taciturnitv, 
consented to show a few United States officers 
over the field and explain what had happened and 
how it had happened ; but beyond these meagre 
reports, and the position in which the bodies of 
the soldiers were found after the Indians had 
finished with their rejoicings and the mutilations 
of the dead, nothing is known of Custer's last 

charge. But those acquainted with Custer and 
with Indian fighting are able to picture the 

When Custer reached the top of the hill, 
instead of a village of some 800 or 1,000 warriors, 
he saw beneath him a veritable city of wigwams 
spread out in the valle}'. The smoke from the 
fires clouded the sky, great herds of ponies 
cropped the grass as far as the eye could see, 
thousands of painted Sioux, armed, and astride 
their shaggy ponies, galloped in circles, working 
themselves into a frenzy of fury to fight the 
White man. Medicine-men danced and yelled 
their incantations, and squaws busily struck the 
tents and hurried their papooses and swarms of 
dusky children out of harm's way. When this 
scene of angry life met his gaze, General Custer, 
old Indian fighter that he was, must have re- 
cognised that he was in for what seemed likely 
to be his last fight. But the mistake had been 
made. The time had passed for new plans of 
battle. He could not turn his back on the 
warriors to join his battalion with the others, 
for already the painted bucks were circling round 
him and firing into his ranks, and already, in all 
probability, he heard the crack of rifles to his left, 
telling him that the Indians were upon Reno. 
Hemmed in, retreat out of the question, and 
trusting that his other battalions would hurry to 
his support, he called to his men, and together 
they plunged into the shrieking, shouting, seeth- 
ing mass of painted and befeathered Red men — 
and died. 

Reno acted differently. Whether or no he 
carried caution to an unjustifiable length is a 
question that has been fiercel}' discussed, at least 
some of the officers who were with him being 
his greatest denouncers. So bitter were the 
charges made against him that a Government 
inquiry was instituted, and, it is onl}' right to say, 
it exonerated him from blame. 

Reno's battalion struck the Indians shortly 
after crossing the Little Big Horn, and the Ree 
scouts at once made for the rear to be out oi 
danger. When the Sioux Indians appeared 
in considerable force on his front, instead of 
charging the village as Custer had ordered, 
Reno dismounted his troops to fight on foot, 
and taking advantage of timber he remained 
stationary for some long time in almost absolute 
security. Later he ordered a retreat to the 
Bluffs, and while executing this order, and in the 
preceding skirmishes, Lieutenants Mcintosh and 
Hodgson, Dr. De Wolf, and twenty-nine men 
and scouts were killed. 


Soon after reaching the Bluffs Captain Ben- 
teen's battalion joined Reno, placing the latter 
in command of a larger force than Custer had 
with him ; but notwithstanding this, no active 
measures were adopted, the two battalions 
standing nerveless and inactive, listening to 


were not near enough to the spot to make out 
what it was all about. The officers with field- 
glasses tried their best to find out where Custer 
and his battalion were, but, of course, this was 
impossible, for by this time every man, with 
Custer, had been slain. 

'they plunged into the seething mass of painted and befeathered red men" (/. 48). 

heavy firing and much ominous noise in the 
direction of the village, where Custer was en- 
gaged in his death-struggle. True, an advance 
was made to a hill — the hill from which earlier 
in the day Custer had been seen to wave his hat. 
From the top of this elevation could be seen a 
great commotion in the valley, much riding and 
shouting and firing ; but still Reno and his men 

Chief " Gall " afterwards said that the news of 
the two columns of troops advancing against 
the village struck consternation to the heart 
of the Indians, but when Reno was seen 
to dismount and remain stationary, they were 
glad, for it allowed the whole Indian force to 
be hurled against Custer. Him out of the 
wa}-, they concentrated against Reno. When 



this latter movement took place Reno retreated 
again to the Bluffs, where close to the river he 
picked upon a strong position and successfully 
withstood all the afternoon a heavy fire. Dark- 
ness came down, and the troops spent an anxious 
night intrenching themselves, and wondering 
what had happened to their companions with 
Custer, but knowing nothing e.xcept that the 
general must have been defeated. 

Lying under the stars, surrounded by the 
*' Hostiles," they passed a night of restlessness 
and alarm. The sky was aglare with light from 
the bonfires ; the silence of the night pierced 
by many strange cries of exultation and hate, 
by shots, and the monotonous beating of the 
tom-tom for the scalp-dance. At times a nervous 
man would spring from his bivouac on the 
earth to shout that he heard the march of 
approaching relief, and bugles rang out a wel- 
come that was only answered by the echoes 
from the hills. 

When morning dawned the Sioux opened fire, 
and the day which followed was one of fevered 
sorties and galling waiting. On the stronghold 
that day Reno's men lost eighteen killed and 
had fifty-two wounded, and they spent a second 
anxious night. But on the morning of June 
27th General Terry raised the siege and rode 
into camp. Terry, in his journey, had come 
across more than a hundred dead, and that an 
awful tragedy had been enacted he knew. But 
he did not know the full extent of the slaughter. 
On the 28th the army marched to the battlefield 

of the Little Big Horn. Scattered on the slope 
of the hill they found 212 dead. General Custer, 
his brother — Captain T. W. Custer — Captains 
Keogh and Yates, Lieutenants Cook, Crittenden, 
Reily, Calhoun, Smith, and other officers of their 
men were found, each scalped and mutilated 
except Custer himself. He lay apparently as 
he had fallen, the Lidians refraining from wreak- 
ing vengeance on the leader, who was well 
known to " Sitting Bull " and others of the chiefs. 
The bodies of Lieutenants Porter, Harrington, 
and Sturgis, and Dr. Lord, were never found. 

The killed of the entire command was 265, and 
the slaving of Custer and his men was the 
crimson spot of the first Centennial Year of the 
United States. 

It is also rendered memorable as being the 
last great victory the Red man achieved over the 
White in the fight for the American continent. 
For as though frightened at the thoroughness of 
their victory, and fearing as harsh a retribution, 
the followers of " Sitting Bull " afterwards flitted 
from place to place, refusing to join issues with 
the armies sent to catch them, and gradually 
melted awa}-, breaking up into small bands, or 
returning to the agencies from which they had 
surreptitiously marched but a few weeks before. 
The great armies which, immediatel}- the news 
of Custer's massacre reached Washington, were 
sent to trap the Indians, marched up and down 
the Bad Lands ; but in all their marching and 
countermarchings were never able to find an 
Indian to fight. 

THE great Imperial Eagle of France had 
been caught and caged at Elba, and 
after close on twentj'-five years of 
storm and tumult, Europe was at peace. 

The armies which had driven the Eagle out of 
France had marched home again, robbing the 
Eagle's nest of many ill-gotten trophies and 
leaving in his place a horde of vultiires who 
claimed the nest as theirs. 

As is the manner of vultures, there was much 
gorging : Louis XVIII. , the man " who had 
learned nothing, ^iwA. forgotten nothing." brought 
back in his train a host of hungry folk, princes 
of the blood royal, dukes, and noble dames ; 
and France soon foimd that it would be made 
to suffer for its Revolution and its Republic, and 
that the victories of its Emperor were like to 
cost it dear. Royalists filled the high places in 
Church and State. Shameless rapacity and 
mean reprisals were seen on every side ; and 
in the army the most scandalous injustices were 
unblushingl}' practised. 

People began to look with regret towards the 
Mediterranean isle where the Eagle plumed his 
ruffled feathers moodily. 

There were mysterious nods and glances, and 
allusions to a certain flower which a certain 
" little corporal " was known to have loved. 

" He will return again with the violet,"' they 
said in whispers. 

Ladies affected violet-coloured silks, and rings 
of the same hue became fashionable, bearing 
the motto "It will re-appear in Spring.'' 

Nor were they wrong, for on the ist March, 
1815, at five o'clock in the afternoon. Napoleon 
the Great, with a hundred dismounted Lancers 
of the Guard, some veteran Grenadiers and a 
few officers, landed in the Gulf of San Juan, 
and began that triumphal progress which ended 
at Waterloo. 

His advance is curiously recorded in the 
papers of the day : I quote from the Monitciir: — 

" The cannibal has left his den." 

*' The Corsican wolf has landed in the Bay of 

San Juan." 

" The tiger has arrived at Gay." 

"The wretch spent the night at Grenoble." 

" The tyrant has arrived at Lyons." 

" The usurper has been seen within fifty miles 

of Paris." 

" Bonaparte is advancing with great rapidity, 

but he will not set his foot inside the walls of 


'' To-morrow Napoleon will be at our gates ! " 
" The Emperor has arrived at "Fontainebleau." 
" His Imperial Majesty Napoleon entered 

Paris 3-esterday, surrounded b3'hJs loy;il subjects." 

At midnight on the 19th March, Louis the 
Gross got into his carriage by torchlight, and 
was driven off to Lille ; the Comte d'Artois and 
the Court followed an hour later, and the good 
citizens found when they rose ne.xt morning, 
two notices fastened to the railings of the Place 
Carrousel — 

'' Palace to let, well furnished, except the 
kitchen utensils, which have been carried away 
by the late proprietor." 

And the other — 

" A large fat hog to be sold for one Napoleon." 

At eight o'clock that evening the Emperor wac 
carried up the grand staircase of the Tuileriet 
on the shoulders of his officers, and from that 
moment until the 12th June the master-muid 
was wrestling with a task vast enough to have 
discouraged twenty brains ! 

Out of chaos he produced order ; a new 
Government was formed, a new army created ; 



five days after his entry the Allied Sovereigns 
declared him an outlaw ; on the ist June he 
distributed Eagles to his troops, and took an 
oath/of allegiance to the new Constitution. But 
Europe had meanwhile flown to arms, and 

bivouac fires were suddenly seen glowing redly 
in the darkness beyond Charleroi, no one kne^r 

exactly where he was. 

» » » * * 

Brussels swarmed with fashionable folk, and 




'300,000 Austrians were to enter France by 
Switzerland and the Rhine ; 200,000 Russians 
were marching on Alsace ; Prussia had 236,000, 
half of whom were ready for action, so that, 
including our English 80,000, the Netherland 
contingent and the minor States of Gerrjiany, he 
had to face the onslaught of more than 1 ,000,000 
men, with only 214,000 at his immediate com- 
mand. England and Prussia were the first to 
arrive ; it would be July before the others could 
reach the frontier, so. Napoleon, leaving armies 
of observation at various points, marched against 
Belgium, hoping to defeat Wellington and 
Bliicher in time to turn about and face the 

, ■storm, clouds gathering in the east. 

# # # * * 

It was the month of June, and the weather was 
intensely warm. An army under Wellington, 
some 100,000 strong, including British, King's 
German Legion, Hanoverian, Brunswick, Dutch, 
Belgian, and Nassau troops, was distributed in 
cantonments from the Scheldt to the Charleroi 

• chaussec. 

It was a heterogeneous force, hastily got to- 
gether, and a large proportion of it by no means 
to be depended upon. 

Of the British regiments, many were formed 
of weak second and third battalions which had 
never been under fire, and nearly 800 militiamen 
fought in the ranks of the 3rd Guards and 
42nd Highlanders, those in the Guards actually 
wearing their Surrey jackets. 

Bliicher's force, seasoned veterans for the most 
part, lay in four separate corps on the frontier 
south of Brussels, and so masterly were Napo- 

' Icon's movements, that until the lights of his 

the families of officers who were with the 

The Duchess of Richmond gave a ball on 
the night of the 15th June, the list of invited 
guests being curious, and not a little melancholy. 
Among the two hundred odd names we read 
those of Wellington, Uxbridge, and Hussey 
Vivian ; two Ponsonbys, one of whom was to 
die three days later ; Hay, the handsome lad 
who had won a sweepstake at Grammont the 
Tuesday before, and whose young life ebbed 
out on the Friday at Ouatre Bras ; Cameron, 
of Fassifern, who also fell there ; Dick of the 
42nd, killed at Sobraon in '46 ; and aide-de- 
camp Cathcart, who lived till Inkerman, where a 
ball and three bayonet thrusts closed his strange 
career. These and many others of more or less 
note danced in the long, low-roofed, barn-like 
room which His Grace of Richmond had hired 
for the occasion from his neighbour. Van Asch, 
the coachbuilder. 

About midnight Wellington, having already 
learned that the outposts had been engaged, 
went to the ball, where he found the Prince 
of Orange. Now, the Prince of Orange, who 
seemed fated to cause the useless sacrifice of 
valuable life, ought to have been at his post at 
Binche, and thither the duke promptly sent 
him, after first inquiring if there were any news. 

" No, nothing, but that the French have 
crossed the Sambre, and had a brush with the 
Prussians ! " Miiffling had previously brought 
the intelligence, which should have arrived much 
sooner, the duke afterwards saying to Napier : 
" I cannot tell the world that Bliicher picked the 
fattest man in his army to ride with an express 



to me, and that he took thirty hours to go 
thirty miles." 

Far from being surprised (as some writers have 
it), the duke's orders were despatched before he 
went to that now historic entertainment, and 
the dancing continued long after he and his 
officers had left. 

At four o'clock Pack's Highlanders, in kilt 
and feather bonnet, swung across the Place 
Royale and passed through the Namur Gate — 
the rising sun glinting on their accoutremerrts, 
their bagpipes waking the sleeping streets. 
" Come to me and I will give you flesh," was 
the weird pibroch of the Black Watch, and many 

picton's division off to the front. 

At two o'clock, while it was yet dark, 
strange sounds were heard under the trees 
—the shuffling of men's feet, the ringing 
of musket-butts on the ground, short words of 
command, and the running ripple of the roll-call 
along the ranks. 

People opened their windows and looked out ; 
carriages returning from the ball drew up and 
waited : it was Picton's Division off to the 

a Highland laddie heard it that morning for the 
last time. 

Some of the officers marched in silk stockings 
and dancing-pumps. Lingering too long at the 
ball, they had not had time— or perhaps, as the, 
night was warm, they had not troubled— to 
change them ; and there were not, a few who 
never found time again. 

Out in the early morning along the great high- 
way they went, past lonely farms and clustering 



villages, through the gre}- -green gloom of the 
beech woods of Soigne to Mont St. Jean, 
where they halted for breakfast, and where 
about eight the duke passed them with his staff, 
leaving strict orders to keep the road clear ; 
and at noon the troops were on the marc'n 
again for Quatre Bras, which was the tiery 
prelude to the greatest battle fought in modern 

The heat was so intense that one man of 
the 95th Rifles went mad, and fell dead in the 
road ; but the others pushed on, and were soon 
afterwards under fire. 

If you take a map of Belgium, placing your 
finger on Brussels, and pass it down the great 
road running south, you will find, some twelve 
miles from the capital, the village of Mont St. 
Jean ; a little beyond which place a cross- 
road from Wavre intersects the chaussee^ and 
at that point move 3'our finger at right angles, 
right and left, for a mile or so each way, and 
you have, roughly, the English position on the 
18th June. 

Continuing again, still southward, you will 
pass La Belle Alliance and Genappe, and nine 
miles from the cross-roads before Mont St. Jean 
is Quatre Bras. 

Rolling ridges of waving grain, some woods in 
all their .summer beauty, a gabled farmhouse, 
and a few cottages where four ways meet— that 
is one's impression of Quatre Bras, which 
Ney had orders to take, and drive out Per- 
poncher's Dutch Belgians posted there ; but we 
arrived to their assistance, corps after corps, at 
intervals, and forming up in line and square, 
repulsed the Cuirassiers and Lancers who charged 
through the tall r3'e. 

The crops were so high that the gallant French 
cavalry had to resort to a curious device in 
singling out our regiments. A horseman would 
dash for^vard, find out the position, plant a lance 
in the ground, and disappear ; then, in a few 
moments, guided by the fluttering pennon, his 
comrades would burst upon us — invisible until 
within a few horse-lengths. 

Waterloo has put Quatre Bras into the shade, 
but few conflicts have been more brilliant. 

Our 69th — thanks to Orange, who interfered 
with its formation just as the 8th Cuirassiers 
came through the corn — lost its only colour, 
taken by Trooper Lami, although Volunteer 
Clarke received twenty-three wounds and lost 
the use of an arm in its defence. 

The 69th 's other colour had been captured at 
iBiergen-op-Zoom, and \sy= hung in the Invalides. 

By four o'clock the 44th had upwards of 16 
officers and 200 men killed and wounded. 

A grey-headed French lancer drove his point 
into Ensign Christie's left eye, down through his 
face, piercing his tongue and entering the jaw : 
but m tha: shockmg condition he stilt sruc'i: 
manfully to tne colour-pole, until, finding "ninv 
self overpowered, he threw the colour down 
and lay upon it, and some privates of the 
regiment closing round the Frenchman, lifted 
him out of his saddle on their bayonet points ! 

The 92nd Highlanders — the old Gordons of 
Peninsular fame — were the last of Picton's men 
to reach the field, and were formed up in line. 

" Ninety-second, don't fire till I tell you ! " 
cried Wellington, as a mass of Cuirassiers 
charged them in his presence ; and the word 
was not given until the dashing horsemen were 
within twenty yards. 

A little later, the duke said again : " New, 
q2nd, you must charge these two columns of 
infantry " ; and charge they did, over a ditch, 
driving the French before them, but their be- 
loved colonel, Cameron, received a death-wound 
from the upper windows of a house. 

His horse turned and bolted with him, back 
along the road, until he came to his master'.^ 
groom holding a second mount, when, stopping 
suddenly, the dying man was pitched on his 
head on to the stone causeway. But he had 
been terribly avenged ; for the kilted Highland- 
men burst into the house with a roar and put 
every soul inside to the bayonet. 

" Where is the rest of the regiment ? " asked 
Picton in the evening. Alas ! upwards of half 
the '* gay Gordons " had perished in the fray. 

Through the broiling heat of that summer 
day our infantry stood firm, growing stronger 
as regiment after regiment arrived, and fresh 
batteries unlimbered in the trampled corn, until 
at night Ney fell back, leaving us in posses- 
sion ; our cavalr\- came up, jaded by their long 
marches ; and we bivouacked on the battlefield, 
cooking our suppers in the cuirasses o. the 


* * * # * 

Meanwhile, Napoleon had beaten Bliicher a 
few miles away at Ligny, but had neglected, in 
most un-Napoleonic fashion, to follow up his 
advantage, and the wily old hussar— he was 
over seventy-three — slipped off in the dark and 
retreated on Wavre. 

When Wellington learned this next morning, 
he said to Captaia Bowles : " Old Bliicher has 
had a good licking, and has gone back to 



Wavre. As he has gone back, we must go too. 
t suppose in England they will say we have been 
licked. I can't help that." So back we went, 
along the Brussels road, our cavalry' covering 
the retreat until we reached the stronger 
position before Mont St. Jean, where we halted 
and faced about, and glued ourselves on the 
ndge across the causeway in such a manner 
that all the magnificent chivalry of France 
could never move us. 

During the retreat from Ouatre Bras on the 
17th, all went well until the middle of the day. 
The wounded had been collected ; the columns 
fled off along the road ; one of the regiments 
even found time to halt and flog a marauder : 
when, the enemy's cavalry pressing our rear- 
guard too closely, some Horse Artillery- guns 
opened fire, and the discharge seemed to burst 
the heavy rainclouds. 

It poured down in torrents ; roads were turned 
into watercourses, the fields and hollows be- 
came swamps ; we had a smart brush with some 
Lancers at Genappe, where our 7th Hussars and 
1st Life Guards charged several times ; the loth 
Hussars had also occasion to dismount some men 
and line a hedgerow with their carbines ; but 
the main feature of the retreat was a weary tramp 
in a deluge of rain. The cavalry- had their 
cloaks, it is true, but the greatcoats of the foot- 
soldiers had been sent back to England. Soaked 
to the skin, we arrived at the ridge above La 
Haye Sainte, and prepared to pass the night 
without covering of any kind. The French 
advanced almost up to us, and Captain Mercer 
was giving them a few rounds from his 9-pounders 
when a man in a shabby old drab overcoat and 
rusty round hat strolled towards him and began 
a conversation. Mercer, who thought him one 
of the numerous amateurs with whom Brussels 
was swarming, answered curtly enough, and the 
stranger went away. 

That shabby man was General Picton, who 
fell next day on the ver}' spot where he received 
this unmerited snubbing. He fought at Ouatre 
Bras in plain clothes, having joined the army 
hurriedly in advance of his baggage, and there 
is good reason to believe that he wore the same 
dress at Waterloo. 

Now commenced preparations for a dismal 
bivouac. The French fell back and did not 
disturb us again, the}- too suffering from the 
drenching rain, which beat with a melancholy 
hissing on the cornfields, the clover, the potato 
patches and ploughed land which formed both 

Some of our officers found shelter in neigh- 
bouring cottages ; Lord Uxbridge, afterwards 
Marquis of Anglesey, crept into a piggerj- and 
sipped tea with Way mouth of the 2nd Life 
Guards ; but most of them cowered with their 
men round wretched fires which here and there 
were coaxed into burning. 

One of Mercer's lieutenants had an umbrella, 
which had caused much merriment during the 
march, but he and his captain found it a haven 
of refuge under the lee of a hedge that night. 

The cavalry- stood to their horses, cloaked, 
with one flap over the saddle ; some few were 
luck)' enough to get a bundle of straw or pea- 
sticks to sit down upon, and all looked anxiously 
for the dawn — fated to prove the last to thousands 
of them. With morning the rain gradually 
declined to a drizzle, which finally ceased ; fires 
sprang up, arms were cleaned, and a buzz of 
voices rose along the line as tall Lifeguardsmen 
went down behind La Haye Sainte to dig 
potatoes, where, a few hours later, they were 
charging knee to knee, and ever}- one made 
shift to get what he could — with most it was 
only a hard biscuit — and to dr\- himself, which 
was a still more difficult matter. 

Wet to the skin, splashed from head to foot 
in mud and mire, cold, shivering, unsha%'en 
( the ' foundation laid of acute rheumatism, to 
which a pension oi Jive pence a day, in some cases 
ten pence, was applied by a grateful country, 
to its indelible disgrace), such was the condition 
of those brave hearts who wat about to make 
the name of " Waterloo-man " a household word 

for all the ages. 

* * # » * 

The Brussels road runs across a shallow valley, 
three-quarters of a mile in width, all green and 
golden with the ripenmg grain, dipping sharply 
into it by the white-walled, blue-roofed farm- 
stead of La Haye Sainte, and rising gently out 
again at the cabaret of La Belle Alliance on its 
way to the frontier beyond Charleroi. 

The valley is bounded by two ridges : on the 
northern one along the cross road which runs 
nearly the whole length of the position, our 
army was posted in the form of a thin crescent ; 
on the southern ridge and the slopes leading 
down into the valley the French forces were 
afterwards distributed, also, to some e.xtent, in 
crescent shape. 

These crescents had their tips advanced 
towards each other, and enclosed in the oval 
thus formed were two important strongholds — 
La Haye Sainte, in advance of our left centre^ 



and the chateau of Hougoumont, some distance 
in front of our right wing ; while away to the 
extreme left, the white buildings of Papelotte 
partly concealed Ter La Haye farm and the 
red-tiled hamlet of Smohain, the end of our 
line in that direction. 

The cross-road which I have mentioned as 
lying along our position, and which was the 

a garden laid out in the French style, and a 
smaller garden full of currant bushes ; barns 
and quaint outbuildings clustering round the 
chateau, a brick wall about the height of a tall 
man, built on lower courses of grey stone, 
enclosing the garden, and at the east end of it 
a large open orchard ; from the north-west 
corner, an avenue of ancient poplars winding 


celebrated '' sunken road of Ohain," runs in some 
places between banks, at others on the level ; it 
is paved down its centre, like most Belgian roads, 
with irregular stones, terrible to traverse for any 
distance, and it undulates gently, as the ridge 
rises and falls, until it joins the Nivelle chaiissce 
beyond Hougoumont. Hougoumont, surrounded 
by a quadrangle of tall trees, lies in a hollow in 
front of our ridge, perhaps halfway between it 
and the enemy's line. A Flemish chateau with 

into the Nivelle road with an abattis of tree 
trunks there, held by a company of the 51st 
Light Infantry ; between the south wall and 
the French, a beech wood, through which one 
could see the corn-clad slopes beyond : and that 
was Hougoumont on the day of the battle. 

The beech wood has been cut down, the 
apple-trees are sparse and scanty now, the 
chateau was burned by the French shells, and 
the garden is a grassy paddock ; but the rest 



remains, loopholed and pockmarked with balls, 
a monument to the gallantry of two brave 
nations. The light companies of the Foot 
Guards occupied it on the 17th, and all night 
long they were busy, boring walls, barricading 
the gateways and erecting platforms from which 
to pour their fire. 

On the high ground behind Hougoumont on 
our side the 2nd Brigade of British Guards was 
posted, having Maitland's Guards on its left ; 
beyond Maitland was Alten's Infantry and 
Kielmansegge's Hanoverians, flanked in their 
turn by the gallant King's German Legion, in 
the pay of England, whose left rested on the 
Brussels chaiissec, behind La Haye Sainte. On 
the other side of the chaussee was Kempt, then 
Pack's Highlanders, the Royal Scots, and 44th 
Regiment, some more Hanoverians, under Best, 
the 5th Hanoverians of Vincke,Vandeleur's Light 
Dragoons, and Vivian's Hussar Brigade. 

The 2nd Rifles of the German Legion held 
La Haye Sainte, three companies of our 95th 
occupying a knoll and sandpit on the other side 
of the road, and Papelotte was garrisoned by 
Dutch Belgians, who behaved with the greatest 

Along the front of this, our first fighting line, 
the artillery was posted at intervals, and sufficient 
justice has not been done to the brave gunners, 
the duke always being unfairly severe on that 
arm of the service. Our heavy cavalry stood, 
in hollows behind the line, right and left or 
the great road in front of the farm of Mont 
St. Jean, already full of the Ouatre Bras 
wounded. Other troops were in reserve out of 
sight of the enemy, behind our ridge, ready to 
advance and fill up any gaps, and we had a 
strong force in and about Braine I'AUeud, two 
miles to our right, in case the French should 
try to turn us there. 

Crops, as at Quatre Bras, covered the valley 
and ridges, and the whole plain undulated in 
every direction. The battlefield to-day is full 
of surprises. Sudden dips occur where the 
land seems flat from a little distance ; tongues 
of ground and barley-covered hillocks rise un- 
expectedly as you approach them ; and it is 
possible to lose sight of the entire field by a 
few yards of walking in some directions ; so that, 
flat as Belgium is generally considered, it is 
not astonishing that the survivors of Waterloo 
could only speak to events in their own 
immediate vicinity- 

Between nine and ten there was loud cheer- 
ing, as the Duke of Wellington rode along the 
line with his Staff". He wore a blue frock coat, 
white cravat, and buckskin breeches, with tas- 
selled Hessian boots ; a short blue cloak with 
a white lining, and a low cocked hat with the 
British black cockade, and three smaller ones for 
Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. He was 
mounted on his favourite chestnut, Copenhagen, 
a grandson of Eclipse, and carried a long 
field-telescope drawn out for use. 

At nine o'clock there was a movement on the 
opposite side of the valley ; columns debouched 
into the fields right and left of the chauszcc^ and 
took up their positions as orderly as if upon 
parade ; glittering files of armoured Cuirassiers 
trotted through the corn, and formed behind the 
infantry, lance-pennons fluttered on each flank, 
and by half-past ten 61,000 French soldiers were 
drawn up in battle array, their right opposite 
Papelotte, their centre at La Belle Alliance, 
their left wing somewhat beyond Hougoumont. 

The two greatest living commanders were 
about to measure swords for the first and only 
time ; and as Napoleon galloped along his line, 
the music of the French bands was distinctly 
heard ; helmets and weapons were brandished in 
the air, and a shout of '' Vive I'Empereur ! " rolled 
across the field. 

Blue-coated infantry formed their first ranks, 
with batteries of brass cannon dotted here and 
there; behind stood the heavy cavalry- with more 
guns, supported, on their right, by the gay light 
horse of the Guard, on the left by the heavy 
cavalry of the Imperial cohort, and in rear of 
the centre about the farm of Rossomme, stood 
the invincible infantry of the Guard, the most 
renowned body of warriors in Europe. 


Napoleon was unwell. 

At two in the morning he had oeen re'con- 
noitring, and his horses were ordered for seven ; 
at ten he still sat in an upper room in an attitude 
of bodily and mental suffering. 

A little later he came down the steep ladder, 
and as his page, Gudin, was helping him into 
the saddle he lifted the Imperial elbow too 
suddenly, and Napoleon pitched over on the 
offside, nearly coming to the ground. 

'' Allez^' he hissed, " a tons les diables ! " and 
away he started in a great rage. 

The page stood watching the cortege with 
tearful eyes, but when it had gone some hun- 
dred yards the ranks of the Staff opened, and 
Napoleon came riding back alone. 



With one hand placed tenderly on the lad's 
shoulder he said, very softly, '* My child, when 
you assist a man of my girth to mount, it is 
necessary to proceed more carefully." Yet it 
was of this man that Wellington could say, in 
after years, " The fellow was no gentleman " ! 

The page became a general, and fell in a sortie 

from Paris during the Franco-Prussian war. 


There was a lull before the storm, and the 
duke went to have a final look at Hougoumont, 
where, in addition to the Guards, he had posted, 
in the woods and 
grounds, some Nas- 
sauers, Hanoverians, 
and Luneberg riflemen. 

These foreigners 
were dissatisfied at their 
position, and as Wel- 
lington rode away 
several bullets came 
whistling after him ! 
" How can they ex- 
pect me to win a battle 
with troops like those ? " 
was his only comment. 

About half- past 
eleven came the First 
Attack ! 

One booming can- 
non echoed dully in 
the misty Sabbath 
morning, and a cloud 
of dark-blue skirmishers 
ran forward against 
Hougoumont, firing 
briskly into the wood. 

Puffs of white smoke 
issued from the trees ; here and there a blue- 
coat turned a somersault and lay still ; but the 
cloud increased, and a loud rattle of musketry 
was kept up on both sides, which lasted, with 
short intervals, the whole day. 

Our men fell back upon the buildings through 
the open beech-trees, and in twenty minutes the 
French supporting columns were pouring up the 
hill towards the chateau grounds. 

Cleeve's German batter}- opened on them, 
and his first shot killed seventeen men, the guns 
checking the advance and sending the column, 
broken and bleeding, down the ridge again. 

Our batteries on the right now began ; the 
French artillery replied ; Kellermann's horse 
batteries joined in, and the infernal concert was 
in full blast. 

(From the Painting by Sir M. A. S/iee, P.R.A ) 

The green Lunebergers and the yellow knap- 
sacks of the Hanoverians came helter-skelter 
back across the orchard, but the Foot Guards 
went forward at a run and drove the enemy 

Bull's howitzers sent a shower of 5|-inch shells 
over the chateau into the wood, and as often as 
the death-dealing globes fell crashing through 
the branches, so often did the enemy retire in 
confusion, until Jerome Bonaparte, ex-king of 
Westphalia, who was in command at Hougou- 
mont, brought up Foy's Division to help the 

Bravely led by their 
officers, the tall shakoes 
and square white coat- 
facings of the line regi- 
ments, the dark-blue 
and black gaiters of the 
light infantry, pressed 
through the wood 
until they reached a 
stiff quickset hedge, 
separated by a thin strip 
of apple orchard from 
the long south wall, 
over which peeped the 
head - gear of our 
Guardsmen, and in the 
confusion of smoke and 
skirmish the bright-red 
brickwork was mis- 
taken for a line of 
British — you can see 
to - day where the 
French balls crumbled 
that barrier. But soon 
discovering their error, 
the brave fellows struggled through the_ hedge 
and rushed forward. 

A line of loopholes perforated the wall about 
three feet from the ground, crossed bayonets 
protruded viciously from the openings, and a 
hail of bullets poured forth with such ghastly 
effect that in half-an-hour there were fifteen 
hundred of God's creatures dead and dying on 
the green grass in the orchard, and still the 
others came on. 

Some got as far as the loopholes, and seized 
the bayonets ; others struck with their gunbutts 
at the men, who, on platforms behind the wall, 
fired down over the top, piling up the dead in 
dreadful heaps — privates and officers, conscripts 
and veterans. 

From time to time our Foot Guards charged 



rJT; "/ +■ 


over the large orchard at the east end of the 
enclosed garden, and also at the south-west angle 
of the farm buildings, where a haystack helped 
to cover them until the French burned it; and 
this repulse and attack went on, time and again, 
until the evening, the enemy gaining no advan- 
tage but the beechwood for all their desperate 

The rest of our line had remained passive 
listeners to the firing, except for a little skir- 
mishing here and there, but a hurricane was 
brewing and about to burst against our left and 


* * # * * 

La Haye Sainte was a farm, lying like Hougou- 
mont in a hollow ; it was on the Brussels road, 
and was built with barn and stabling round three 
sides of an oblong yard, the fourth side being a 
high white wall, vath a gate and a piggery 
alongside the roadway. 

Towards the French position stretched a long 
orchard, a small garden la}- behind the house, 
and a large double door opened from the yard 
into the fields on the Hougoumont side, half 
of which door had been burned for bivouac 
fires the night previous. The 2nd Rifles of the 
German Legion, dressed like our own in green 
with slate-coloured pantaloons, held the post, 
and held it like the heroes of old, three 
companies in the orchard, two in the building, 
and one in the garden. Major Baring, who had 
two horses shot under him, being in command. 

The post was not as strong as Hougoumont, 
all the pioneers having been sent to fortify the 
latter place, and the '' Green Germans " had 
a very insufficient supply of ammunition ; 
Wellington afterwards admitting that he had 
neglected to make the most of the position there. 

At I "30 p.m. Marshal Ney had gathered 
seventy-four guns, mostly 12 -pounders, on a 
■ridge very near to La Haye Sainte on the 
French right of the road, and this was known 
as the " Great Battery." 

Behind the guns the whole of D'Erlon's Corps, 
together with Bachelu's Division, was massed 
in columns for the attack twenty regiments, 
Bachelu being in reserve. Ney sent to the 
Emperor to tell him all was ready, and with 
an appalling cannonade on our left and centre, 
they commenced the Second Attack. 

When the smoke which hung about the gims 
had drifted slowl}' away across the slopes we 
could see four massive columns, led by the 
brave Ney, pouring steadily forward straight 
for our ridge. 

The firing became general as we opened on 
the advance : men had to shout to be audible 
to their neighbours ; long lanes were ploughed 
through Picton's Division, and the balls went 
tearing through our cavalr\' in reserve, many of 
them striking the hospital farm, and some even 
travelling into the village beyond. 

B^'landt's Dutch Belgians, posted in front of 
the cross-road, forgot their gallantry at Ouatre 



Bras, and bolted, almost running over the 
Grenadiers of our 28th, who were restrained 
with difficulty from firing into them. One ball 
cut a tall tree into half at the hedgerow above 
the sandpit, bringing the feathery top down and 

taking place about two o'clock, and lasting for 
more than an hour. 

Durutte took Papelotte, but was driven out 
again ; Alix and Marcognet breasted the rise, and 
gained the ridge under a murderous discharge ; 


half-smothering two doctors of the 95th, who 
had stationed themselves beneath it. 

Nearly 24,000 men advanced, with loud cries 
and the hoarse rolling of drums, in four masses : 
Durutte against Papelotte, Alix and Marcognet 
in front of Kempt and Pack, Donzelot upon 
the devoted Rifles in La Haye Sainte, the shock 

the smell or trampled corn mingling with 
the powder smoke as the Great Battery ceased 
firing lest it should kill its comrades, and 
with* shouts of "Vive I'Empereur ! " the two 
columns hurled themselves against the steel 
barrier of bayonets on the hedge-lined bank 
above them. 



Hand to hand, no quarter asked or given, 
veteran and conscript came on yelling like mad, 
Picton's Division meeting them in line. 

Some of Marcognet's fellows crossed the Wavre 
road and blazed into the 92nd ; but our men 
advanced, after a withering volley, and, jumping 
into the cross-road, went at them with a will. 
Cameron Highlanders, 32nd and 28th, Scots 
Royals, and Black Watch, Gordons and 44th, 
with colours waving and courage high, over the 
causeway thev rushed, into the wheat and barlev. 

"Charge, charge I Hurrah ! " cried Picton, his 
little black eyes sparkling, his fiorid complexion 
redder with excitement — a ball struck his right 
temple, he fell dead from his horse, and his men 
passed over him driving the foe down hill. 

A mounted French officer had his horse shot, 
and getting to his feet seized the regimental 
colour of the 32nd, which was nearly new. 
Belcher, who carried it, grasped the silk and the 
Frenchman groped for his sabre hilt, but Colour- 
sergeant Switzer thrust a pike at his breast. 
"Save the brave fellow!" was the cr}', but it 
came too late ; a private, named Lacy, fired 
point blank into him, and he fell lifeless. 

Ney stood in the road beyond La Haj-e 
Sainte watching Donzelot's attack on the farm, 
where the " Green Germans" were forced, after 
a struggle, out of the long orchard into the 
buildings, and simultaneously a mass of Cuiras- 
siers tore past the Hougoumont side and rode 
at the ridge. 

Our Household Cavalry and Ponsonby's 
Heavies had walked on foot to the height over- 
looking the struggle ; the trumpets rang out 
" Mount,'' and swinging into their saddles 
they swooped down into the thick of it. With 
a clatter across the causeway, and the muffled 
thunder of hoofs on the ground beyond it, the 
scarlet-coated Life Guards, wearing no armour 
then, and mounted on black horses, dashed past 
the Wellington tree into the potato field, with 
the Blues and King's Dragoon Guards, swinging, 
slashing, stirrup to stirrup, to meet Kellermann's 
troopers and Orconer's Cuirassiers. There was 
the snort of eager horses, the creaking of leather, 
the clash of sword on steel cuirass, the yell of 
passion and the scream of agony ; a seething 
mass of fighting-men and steeds, glinting and 
gleaming, swaying this wa}^ and that way, but 
always onward, jostling down the hill. 

The 1st Lifes got jammed in the road beyond 
the farm with a body ol Cuirassiers, on the spot 
where Ney had just before been standing, volti- 
geurs firing into them, on friend and foe alike ! 

Their Colonel, Ferrier, led eleven charges 
although badly wounded by sabre and lance. 

The King's Dragoons jumped their horses 
over a barrier of trees which our Rifles had built 
across the causeway and went thundering along 
that way, while the Blues were reaping a harvest 
of glory in another direction, and the 2nd Life 
Guards charged to the left for a great distance 
beyond the sandpit alongside the farm, where 
Corporal Shaw met his fate after slaying nine 
of the enemy single-handed. 

After the battle men remembered this mighty 
swordsman, and told in solemn voices his deeds 
of derring-do. One cuirassier sat, out of the 
melcc, coolly loading his carbine and picking off 
our troopers, and it is believed he gave Shaw 
his mortal hurt. 

A survivor narrated how, exhausted at night- 
fall, he had lain down on a dung-heap, when 
Shaw crawled beside him, bleeding from many 
wounds. Li the morning the life-guardsman 
was still there, his head resting on his arm as if 
asleep, but it w^as the sleep which knows no 

Ponsonby's L^nion Brigade was meanwhile 
making its immortal onslaught, more towards 
Papelotte, the ground they went over being 
billowy, and the troops before them infantry of 
the line. 

The Royals gave a ringing cheer ; " Scotland 
for ever ! " was the war-cry of the Greys ; and 
the Inniskillings went in with an Irish howl. 

As they passed the Q2nd, many of the High- 
landers caught hold of their stirrup-leathers and 
charged down with them ; the very ground 
seemed trembling under the iron hoofs ; Mar- 
cognet and Alix were broken and trampled, and 
in three minutes more than 2,000 prisoners 
were wending their disconsolate way to the rear. 

" Those beautiful grey horses ! '' said Napoleon, 
as he watched the charge. 

Did he see that struggle round the Eagle of 
his 45th, I wonder — that famous " Battle for the 
Standard " w^hich Ansdell has painted so well ? 

What says Sergeant Ewart, the hero of the 
incident ? '' It was in the charge I took the 
Eagle from the enemy. He and I had a hard 
contest for it. He made a thrust at my groin ; 
I parried it off, and cut him down through the 
head. After this a lancer came at me ; I threw 
the lance off by my right side, and cut him 
through the chin and upwards through the 
teeth. Next a foot-soldier fired at me, and then 
charged me with his bayonet, which I also had 
the good luck to parr^', and then I cut him 

Sergeant Evvart i.apiuiing me Eagle at Waterloo c/. fj). 
{Fiom a ranting by W. B. IVoihn, R.r.\ 




down through the head. Thus ended the 

Captain Clarke and Corporal Styles, of the 
Royals, took an Eagle from the 105th between 
them — a glorious gilded thing, embroidered 
with tjie names of Jena, Eylau, Eckmiihl, Essling, 
and Wagram — the gallant captain losing the tip 
of his nose in the struggle. 

A man of the Inniskillings named Penfold 
claimed to have taken that colour ; but his story 
is vague, and I incline to think that a blue silk 
camp -colour of the 105th, now at Abbotsford, 
was the one that Penfold seized and afterwards 
lost in the fray. 

Sir William Ponsonby led the charge on a 
restive bay hack, and was killed ; while some of 
the Greys got as far as the Great Battery, dis- 
abling many of the guns, and getting slain in 
the end. 

Part of the 28th lost its head, and charged with 
the brigade ; Lieutenant Deares of that regiment 
being taken prisoner, stripped of his clothes, 
rejoining at night in nothing but shirt and 

Tathwell, of the Blues, tore off a colour, but 
his horse was shot and he lost it ; and the 
greater part of the two brigades rode along the 
battery until heavy bodies of Cuirassiers and 
Lancers came to drive them back. 

Vandeleur charged to their relief with his 
Light Dragoons — the 12th with bright yellow 
lancer facings, the i6th with scarlet, the buff 
nth remaining in reserve. 

" Squadrons, right half-wheel I Charge ! " and 
the sabres of our light horsemen were soon busy 
in the valley below. The ground was very soft, for 
a month after the battle some of the holes made 
by horses' feet were measured, and found to be 
eighteen inches deep, and in speaking of artillery 
movements it must be remembered that the guns 
were at times up to the axle in clay. 

The heavy cavalry regained our position ; but 
so much had they suffered that, later in the day, 
when they were drawn up in lire to show a bold 
front, there were only fifty of them ; Somerset, 
who led the " Households," losing his hat, and 
wearing the helmet of a life-guardsman, with 
its red and blue worsted crest, until nightfall. 

The attack had failed, and there was a long 
pause, broken only by the firing at Hougoumont 
and some feeble attempts on La Haye Sainte ; 
but it was now the turn of our troops in the 
centre, from the chatissec to the back of the 
chateau ; and a terrible time they had ! 

A renewal of the cannonade — a forming of 

our regiments into squares and oblongs — and 
then the grandest cavalry affair in history, as 
forty squadrons of Cuirassiers and Dragoons 
crossed from the French right in beautiful order, 
wheeled up until they almost filled the space 
from Hougoumont to La Haye Sainte, and, about 
four o'clock, put spurs to their horses and began 
the Third Attack ! 

A forest of sword-blades, an undulating sea of 
helmets, a roar of mighty shouting as they came 
through the yet untrampled grain. 

Wave after wave, far as the eye could scan, 
now glinting with thousands of bright points 
as the sullen sun shone for a moment upon 
them, now grey and sombre as the clouds closed 
together again. Nearer ! nearer ! nearer ! Men 
clutched their muskets tighter and breathed 
hard ; gunners rammed home and hastened to 
re-load before the smoke had drifted from the 

Suddenly they left their guns, and ran to the 
infantry for protection as the sea burst upon us, 
and our ridge became alive with furious horse- 
men, surging and foaming round and round the 
squares. There were many who thought that all 
was over, but the little clumps of scarlet fringed 
with steel were impenetrable. 

\xi vain the moustached troopers cut desper- 
ately at the bayonets ; in vain they rode up and 
fired their pistols into the faces of our lads. For 
three-quarters of an hour they expended their 
strength in a hopeless task ; and when our fresh 
cavalry from Dornberg's and Grant's Brigades 
charged them, they went down the slope again, 
leaving the ground dotted with dead and dying. 

A moment's respite to re-form in the hollows 
below, and back they came once more, in the 
face of a fearful fire from our artillery, whose 
guns were double-shotted — some loaded with 
scattering grape and canister. Lanes, sickening 
to behold, were torn through the squadrons ; 
but Milhaud's men were not to be daunted, and 
the same strange scene was repeated many times. 

A small body of Cuirassiers that had surren- 
dered was being escorted to the rear by a weak 
party of the 7 th Hussars, when they made a bold 
dash for liberty along the Nivelle road, stamped- 
ing, ventre a terre, until they reached the ahattis 
at the end of tl:e Hougoumont avenue. 

Here they met Ross's company of the 51st, 
who killed eight men and twelve horses, the 
rest— about sixty — surrendering again. 

One artilleryman was seen, under his gun, 
dodging a French trooper, who tried to reach 
him with his long sword. 



After some moments the cuirassier's horse 
was shot, and the gunner, sallying out, hit him 
over the head with his rammer, and packed him 
off to the rear with a parting kick. 

The ridge was once more cleared, and 

was constant firing still at Hougoumont and La 
Haye Sainte, when the trumpets sounded again, 
and with scvcnty-scvcn squadrons, including the 
cavalry of the Guard, France returned to the 
charge. Every arm of the mounted service was 

represented in this 
attack, the beauty 
and brilliancy of 
the uniforms baf- 
fling description. 
Carabiniers. white- 
coated, with brass 
cuirasses and red- 
crested helmets ; 
Lancers, Dragoons, 
and Chasseurs in 
.green, with facings 
of every hue ; the 
Red Lancers of the 

LEGION {/. 66). 

Mercer's battery brought into the front line. The 
whole field was now littered with corpses and 
accoutrements. Gaily-dressed trumpeters, and 
officers on whose breasts hung crosses of the 
Legion of Honour, lay bleeding in the barley 
among hundreds of dead and wounded horses. 
Here a lancer in green and light blue, there a 
heap of cuirassiers of the ist Regiment, mown 
down by grape shot ; yonder a chasseur -a-chcv al ^ 
propped against his charger, while swords and 
cuirasses were almost as numerous as the stalks 
of corn. 

All the slope was torn and trampled ; flies 
were busy in the now loathsome hollows ; there 

Guard, clad in scarlet 
from head to heel, and 
Napoleon's own favourite 

Chasseur s-a-cheval, wdth hussar caps and red 
pelisses, richly braided with orange k.ce ; tall 
bearskinned Horse Grenadiers, with white facings 
to their blue coats ; the Cuirassiers, dark and 
sombre looking ; the high felt shakoes of the 
Hussars— it was as though a flower garden in all 
its summer dress were moving at a slow trot 
upon us, heralded by the thunder of hell from 
the batteries behind it. 


When the thunder stopped, which it ahvays did 
as the leading files reached the crest of the ridge, 
our men could hear in the momentary intervals of 
their own firing the jingling of bits and scabbards, 
and the heavy breathing of the horses. Mounted 
skirmishers came close to the batteries and com- 
menced firing at the gunners, who were literally 
dripping with perspiration from the exertions 
they made. One fellow took several pot-shots 
at Captain Mercer, who was coolly walking his 
horse backwards and forwards along a bank to 
set an example to his men. He missed each 
time, and grinned grimly as he reloaded, but as 
the head of the 
squadrons closed 
up the skirmish- 
ers vanished and 
were succeeded 
by the rush which 
threatened death 
to every soul on 
the plateau. Wel- 
lington's orders 
were to retire 
into the squares 
and leave the 
batteries, but 

Mercer's men 
stuck to their 
guns, repulsing" 
three charges of 
the Horse Grena- 
diers, and dealing 
such slaughter 
that the position 

of " G Troop '' was known next day by the 
enormous heap of slain lying before it, visible 
from a considerable distance. 

The carnage on the slope was shocking — the 
oldest soldiers had seen nothing like it : men 
and horses lay piled one on another, five and six 
in a heap, every fresh discharge adding to the 
ghastly pyramid. The ist Cuirassiers numbered 
300 of the Legion of Honour in its ranks — it 
lost 117, including two lieutenants and the brave 
Captain Poinsot, page to the Emperor in 1807, 
wounded at Moscow and Brienne. One officer, 
finding the fire from a particular gun playing 
havoc with his men, rode straight at it and was 
blown to atoms. 

The horses during the battle suffered cruelly, 
and some of the details are heartrending : the 
charger of a very stout officer with the Duke's 
staff, probably Muffling, was seen to rear for 
some time without the rider being able to bring 


it down—its front legs had been both shot off. 
Another trooper's horse was seen next morning 
sitting on its tail, its hind legs gone ; and one 
poor beast ran for sympathy to six guns in 
succession, and was driven off from each with 
exclamations of horror until it reached '' G 
Troop," where they mercifully killed it : the 
whole of its face below the great brown pleading 
eyes had been carried away by a round shot ! 

After a repulse and a re-attack, the remnant 
of the seventy-seven squadrons reeled back to 
their own lines : the cavalry of France, magni- 
ficent, irresistible, brave as lions, and nobly led. 

had shattered 
itselt without re- 
sult, and the third 
great attempt had 
failed ! 

* » • • 

All the after- 
noon there had 
been great doings 
at Hougoumont. 
About one 

o'clock Colonel 
Hepburn had re- 
lieved Saltoun in 
the large orchard 
with a battalion 
of the 3rd — now 
the Scots Guards 
— and the com- 
bat on that side 
became a long 
succession of ad- 
vances with the bajonet to the ft-ont hedge and 
retirings into a green dry ditch, which is known 
to us as the " friendh hollow-way." When our 
men fell back, a terrific fire from the short east 
wall would stagger the foe, and the Scots, 
having formed again, would scramble out of the 
hollow and clear the orchard of all but the dead. 
Along the terrible south wall a staff-officer, 
who had been through all the Peninsula battles, 
afterwards said that the slain lay thicker than he 
had ever seen them elsewhere. 

The chateau and barns were now burning 
furiously, fired by Haxo's howitzers at Napo- 
leon's orders, and many of our wounded perished 
in the flames ; some officers' horses tore out of 
the barn, galloped madly round the yard, and 
rushed into the fire again to be destroyed. 

Twice the enemy got in : once by a little 
door in the west wall, through which they never 
got out alive ; and the second time, when our 

wall" (/. 66). 



Guardsmen had sallied out into the lane to drive 
off a body of infantry, about fifty French entered 
on their heels through the north gate. Then, 
by main strength of arm, Colonel Macdoncll, 
Sergeant Graham, and three or four more, 
shut and barred the wooden gate in the faces 
of the others, and those inside were all shot 

A brave fellow climbed on to the beam that 
crossed the gatewa}- ; but Graham fired, and he 
dropped with a scream on to the heads of his 
comrades outside the wall. 

The fire stopped at the door of the chateau 
chapel, which was full of wounded, and a wooden 
figure of our Saviour had the feet nibbled by 
the flames, at which the superstitious marvel 
greatly to this day. 

Columns of smoke hung over everything. A 
gallant artillery driver rushed his horses to the 
wall, and flung a barrel of welcome cartridges 
over into the yard. At the corner, before the 
gardener's house, Baron de Cubieres lay wounded 
under his horse ; afterwards, when Governor of 
Ancona, he expressed himself very grateful that 
we had not fired on him ! 

Crawford of the 3rd Guards was killed in the 
kitchen garden, Blackman of the Coldstreams 
died in the orchard ; but the attack and repulse 
grew gradually weaker, as both sides tired of 
the hideous slaughter. 

Meanwhile, a serious trouble which had been 
menacing" the Emperor on his right flank for 
some time at last grew terriblv" imminent. 

The Prussians were coming in spite of Grouchy, 
who had been sent in their pursuit. 

They should have arrived about one o'clock ; 
but, thanks to the bad roads, a fire in the town 
of Wavre, which had to be extinguished before 
the ammunition-waggons could be got through, 
and some hesitation on the part of Gneisenau, 
Bliicher's Chief of Staff, who doubted Welling- 
ton's good faith, it was half -past four when 
part of Billow's corps came out of the woods 
at St. Lambert and confirmed Napoleon's pre- 
. viously awakened fears. 

In the hazy weather thev thought it was 
Grouchy, and a false report was afterwards sent 
through the French army to cheer the wearied 
m.en ; but the Emperor and Soult knew other- 
wise, and the line of battle was weakened by a 
strong force being detached to meet the new 

There was no time to be lost ; drums rolled 
and trumpets sounded again, and the last rem- 
nants of the cavalry had not regained their 

position when the Fourth Grand Attack began 
with a fury that even exceeded the others. 

While fresh bodies of horse and foot advanced 
up the ridge, a most determined rush was made 
on La Haye Sainte. Baring had been reinforced, 
it is true ; but, although he sent time after time 
for more ammunition, not a single cartridge was 
forthcoming [ 

A feeble excuse has been made that there were 
no means of getting it into the building ; but li 
large door and several windows faced our line at 
the back of the house then, as now. They may 
still be seen by the visitor to Waterloo. 

A horde of French infantry flung themselves 
on the buildings, setting the barn on fire, and 
besieging the broken gateway. 

While the brave Germans filled their camp- 
kettles from the pond and extinguished the 
flames, others, with their bayonets only, kept 
the door leading into the field. Seventeen corpses 
they piled up there in a few minutes, one gallant 
fellow defending a breach with a brick torn 
from the wall ! The individual acts of heroism 
on authentic record would fill many pages : 
but, without ammunition, they were at a fearful 

The voltigeurs climbed on to the roof of the 
stable, and shot them down at their ease : the 
half barn-door is preserved to the present day, 
with eighty bullet-holes in it ! Alten sent the 
brave Christian Ompteda to their aid, if prac- 
ticable, with the 5th Battalion. He pointed to 
an overwhelming force ; but the irrepressible 
Orange repeated Alten's suggestion in a tone 
that brooked no delay, and Ompteda went down 
with his 5th Battalion, and they died, almost to 
a man I 

Baring dismounted to pick up his cap, knocked 
off by a shot ; four balls had lodged in the 
cloak rolled on his saddle-bow, and a fifth then 
pierced the saddle itself, while the Scotch Lieu- 
tenant Graeme, sitting on the rafters of the 
piggery, in which a calf was lowing, raised his 
shako to cheer his men, and his right hand 
^vas taken off at the wrist. He was only 

It was hopeless. " If I receive no cartridges,'* 
said Baring in his last appeal, " I not only must, 
but will abandon the post ! " And very soon 
those neglected heroes retreated slowly through 
the house and out through the garden beyond, 
the French, bursting into the yard, chasing the 
remnant round and round and bayoneting them 
on the dungheaps. 

A roar of cheering rang above the battle. 



At last they were victorious, and the French had 
taken La Haye Sainte. 

Without a moment's hesitation their conquest 
was turned to the best possible advantage. 
Smart red-braided Horse Artillery galloped down 
the causeway, dragging their guns to the knoll 
above the sandpit, from which our Q5th had 
been driven, and, unlimbering, opened fire at 
sz'xtv yards range on to our line. 

Skirmishers filled the hedgerows and the farm 
buildings. The Great Battery renewed its work 
of death, and in a few moments there was a 
serious gap in the centre of our position. 

Lambert's brigade had been brought up before 
this, and suffered terribly. 

The 27th, which had lain down and slept 
soundly behind Mont St. Jean until after three 
o'clock, lost 478 out of 698 in its new quarters ; 
and the 40th thirteen officers and 180 rank 
and file, one round shot taking off the head of 
Captain Fisher and killing twenty-five men. 

Ompteda's brigade mustered a mere handful, 
Kielmansegge was almost destroyed, Halkett 
had two weak squares, one of his regiments 
being very shaky indeed, and, altogether, things 
were unpleasant when the Duke came up with 
reinforcements to patch our front as best he could. 
Far off on our right Chasse's Dutch Belgians 
had arrived, shouting and singing, from Braine 
I'Alleud, very drtmk^ narrowly escaping a volley 
from us, as they wore the French uniform ; and 
at this time, by reason of the bolting of Hake's 
Cumberland Hussars and some of our supports, 
with the enormous losses from the six hours of 
carnage, the British affairs were in bad case. 

Halkett's 30th and 73rd in square had been 
charged no less than eleven times : the Duke 
pointed to a scarlet mass in front through the 
smoke, and inquired what regiment it was. It 
was the dead and wounded of those two corps, 
huddled together where they had fallen. 

The green-faced 73rd was at one time com- 
manded by Lieutenant Stewart, all the other 
officers having been killed or wounded ; and at 
half-past seven the colours of both regiments 
were sent to the rear. 

The 2nd Line Battalion of the German Legion 
went into action with 300 men, but mustered 
only six officers and thirty-six privates after the 
battle ; but Blucher was now nearing the French 
right rear with nearly 52,000 troops and 104 
guns, and the Emperor was obliged to send 
General Duhesme with eight battalions of the 
young Guard down into the straggling village 
of Planchenoit to help to check them. 

He had been at La Belle Alliance all day, and 
Prussian shot were now falling about him. 

Marshal Ney sent for more infantry to renew 
the attack. " Ou voulez vous que j'en prenne : 
voulez vous que j'en fasse .^ " was the Emperor's 
impatient reply—" Where can I get them : do 
you wish me to make them ? " 

The long June day was drawing into evening, 
and shadows began to lengthen across the fields! 
Wellington, who had always been seen where 
the fire was hottest, rode with a calm, inscrutable 
face, followed by a sadly diminished staff,, his 
eagle eye taking note of the strength and 
weakness of our line. 

The Hussars had been moved in rear of the 
centre ; and Adams' Brigade took position imme- 
diately behind the ridge. In front of the clover 
field where the 52nd stood in square, a pretty 
little tortoiseshell kitten, which had been fright- 
ened out of Hougoumont by the firing, lay dead 
— a strange feature in the scene of destruction. 

The men were growing accustomed to the 
hideous sights and sounds around them, and 
became impatient at the inactivity which 
doomed them to endure without reprisal. 
Suddenly the brass guns blazed forth once 
more upon us ; the pas dc charge was rolling 
from a thousand drums ; a serried line was seen 
advancing along our entire front, and, led by 
the Emperor himself, on his grey charger Marie, 
his famous redingote gris open and showing 
the well-known dark-green chasseur coat, the 
Grenadiers of the Guard marched in . solid 
columns into the vallev. 

Two winding serpents of determined men ; 
ten battalions in tall black bearskins, white 
facings and dark-blue pantaloon.s — that was their 
dress at Waterloo — with Friant and Mor:\nd, 
Petit, whom Napoleon had kissed at Fontaine- 
bleau, Poret de Morvan, and old Cambronne. 
The elite of the French army, the Grenadiers and 
Chasseurs of the Old and Middle Guard, marching 
sternly to victory or death. Marcognet, Alix, 
and Donzelot, with their remnants, against our 
reeling left ; Reille, Foy, and Jerome renew- 
ing on Hougoumont — cavalry in the gaps and 
spaces — a simultaneous, mighty last attack ! 

The yet unbroken Imperial Guard set their 
faces towards the spot where Maitland's, Adams' 
and Bj-ng's red-coats looked to their priming 
and closed their ranks : had Napoleon hurled 
them against the cross road behind. La Haye 
Sainte, the story of Waterloo had been written 

He missed his chance ; he threw away h^s 



final hope. The greatest of his man\- mistakes 
was committed, and, handing over the leadership 
to Ney, he remained on a hillock above the 
farm, and watched the downfall of France and 
the death-blow of his empire ! For the last 
time in this world their Emperor addressed 
them, pointing towards the heights with a 
gesture all could understand. 

'"'■ Deploy ez Ics aigles. En avant ! Tire 
V Empereiir r' and with a great shout thev 
quickened their pace, passing proudly, un- 
heeding, over the bodies of those comrades 
who had gone before. 

Red tongues of flame burst from the smoke 
of our guns ; 
whiz came the 
lier}- rockets, 
darting into 
their ranks, 
blinding, and 
burning in 
their course ; 
shells dropped 
among them 
with terrible 
desLiuction ; 
but the Old 
Guard pressed 
on, and began 
to mount the 

Ney's horse 
fell— the fifth 

killed under him that day, and the " bravest of 
the brave," went forward on foot. Alas, would 
that it had been to death ! 

Our Guards were lying down to avoid the 
hurricane from the French artiller}'. A shell 
dropped in one of the squares, and Colonel 
Colquitt, picking it up, fizzing and fuming, 
walked to the edge and flung it outside to burst 
harmlessly. Another officer, mortally wounded, 
said faintly : 

'' I should like to see the colours of the regi- 
ment again before I quit them for ever " : they 
were brought and waved round his body, and 
with a smile, he was carried away, to die. 

It was men like those that the oncoming 
columns had to face, and batteries as famous as 
those of Bull and Bolton, of Norman Ramsay, 
Whinyates, and Webber Smith, with guns 
double shotted and served as on parade ; no 
need to sight so caiefullv. for the moving 


target is a wide one, and they hit in e\ei > 
tmie : 

Now the skirmishers run out, shouting and 
firing as before, and when they have said their 
say, thev fall back leaving all clear for the 
others ; but the columns seem to get no nearer, 
though they are marching steadily ; front rank 
after front rank is blown to shreds — that is why 
they appear stationary ! 

The gunners have done their wcik ; the 
guns recoil, and are left there : it is the turn 
of the infantry now, and the time has come 
for that historic signal, " Up, Guards, and 
at 'em ! " which in realitv was never said. 

But what- 
ever the word 
was, they do 
"up," and 
they do " at 
'em " ; and 
again it is 
bayonet to 
bavonet, and 
man to man. 

One Welsh 
giant, named 
Hughes, six 
feet seven 
inches in 
height, is seen 
to knock over 
a dozen of the 
Old Guard 
single handed ; 
• the red-coats 

and the blue-coats mingle for a moment and 
the blue-coats melt awa^-. 

The second column, a little behind the other, 
is in good order : it has suffered less from the 
cannonade, and is full of fire and fury ; but' so 
also are our 52nd lads, who advance down the 
slope with three tremendous cheers. 

Colborne is leading, and when they get abreast 
of the column he cries — 
" Halt ! Mark time ! " 

The men touch in to their left, and regain their 
dressing ; Colborne's horse is shot, and he 
comes forward wiping his mouth with a white 
handkerchief, still wearing Ensign Leeke's blue 

'' Right shoulders forward ! " 
The regiment swings round, and, four deep, 
faces the column's flank two hundred 3'ards 

"Forward, 52nd — charge I " and the Foot 


Guards, who are back'onthe ridge again, behold 
a noble spectacle. 

The crash is terrific ; the Imperial phalanx is 
taken in flaillv The contest is fierce, but it is 
soon over. 

Brave Michel, in response '.to our officers, re- 
plies with g\orious^cs/>n't de corps, " The Guard 
dies, and never surrenders!'' his, words in-- 
stantly fulfilled, as he falls lifeless, swor,:! in 
hand, while Cambroiine, grown old in the 
service (to whom these words have been falsely 
attributed), gives up his weapon to William 

Halkett's horse is shot, and Cambronne 
hastens away, but his captor is too .quick for 
him, and seizing his gold aiguillette, hands him 
to a sergeant to be taken care of. 

On presses the 52nd. driving the broken Guard 
before it : it is a sight probably never repeated 
in history — one .regiment traversing the field 
alone, in sight of. the army; sending the foe 
like sheep into the • hollow ; dispersing and 
pushing them relentlessly back, until they turn 
and fly, and other corps make haste to join in 
that glorious progress. 

There is a movement along the ridge as 
the setting sun "shines out in a burst of sink- 
ing splendour, and the Duke, with cocked hat 
raised above his head, gives the magic word, 
" The whole line will advance ! " and then spurs 
down after the 52nd. 

On the rising ground near La Haye Sainte, 
Napoleon sits on horseback, close to a small 
battalion which has formed square. 

Jerome, his brother, bleeding and exhausted, 
is with him, with honest old Drouot in his 
artillery uniform, in the pocket of which is a 
well-worn Bible ; Soult and Gourgaud, Bertrand 
and brave young La Bedoyere are there, too : 
but the English Hussars are coming on at a 
fast trot. 

All day long the waves of valour have been 
rolling northward, and breaking against an iron- 
bound shore ; now the tide has turned, and 
rushes madly south again. 

Nothing but confusion meets the eye : every- 
where the French are in full retreat — solitary 
men, groups of three and four, ruined regiments, 
and the skeletons of squadrons. 

Jerome rides close to his brother, and says in 
?. meaning tone — 

" It were well for all who bear the name of 
Bonaparte to perish here ! " 

Napoleon orders some guns to open on the 
Hussars, and one shot hits Lord Uxbridge on the 

right knee as,, mounted on a troop horse be- 
longing to a sergeant-major of the 23rd Light 
Dragoons, he is leading the pursuit. 

" Here we must die on the field of battle," ex- 
claims the Emperor, preparing to head the weak 
column,; but Soult seizes his bridle, saying, 
" They will not kill 3-ou : you will be taken 
prisoner"'; and, held up in the saddle by two 
faithful officers, for he is worn out. Napoleon 
is galloped away in the gathering darkness. 

On the left of the Brussels road some Prussiar. 
guns had come up and fired on our men. 

They were the sole representatives ofBliicher'i 
force present before Mont St. Jean until nfte, 
the retreat had begun ; and they had been 
far better absent, as their pounding was cruelly 
felt by Mercer's battery and several of our 

They were induced, after some time, to change 
the direction of their range, and then all went 
well. The 52nd still pursued its march, halting 
for a moment near La Haye Sainte to face and 
charge some rallying squares, where a Belgian 
soldier was seen killing a wounded Frenchman, 
and was run through by an officer of the 

Leeke, who carried the King's colour, foun;. 
a foot and a half of the pole wet with blood ; 
Holman, the brother of the blind traveller, h^J 
three musket balls through his sword blade, ar^d 
wore it for many 3-ears ; Colborne and Major 
Rowan, being both (Jismounced, jumped on tc 
two horses attached to an abandoned gun, call- 
ing to their men to cut the liai-ness ; but the 
advance continuing, they had to dismount with 
a hearty laugh and march on again on foot. 

It was getting dark, and our Hussars were 
clearing the field in splendid style, the loth. 
whose sabres were soon red as their scarlet cuflfs, 
engaging with some strong remnants of the Old 
Guard and losing two officers. 

Major Murray, of the dashing i8th, met a gun 
going at full speed, and leaped his charger over 
the traces, between the leaders and wheelers, 
while his men proceeded to cut the gunners 

Colquhoun Grant, who had lost five horses 
and was then mounted on a magnificent chest- 
nut, sent the gallant remains of his brigade at 
the retreating foe ; and until it was impossible 
an}' longer to pick one's way among the vast 
heaps of dead, disabled cannon, and miserable 
wounded — in short, the absolute wreck of an 
army — our light cavalry went wheeling and 



slashing right and left, hurrying on the veteran,* 
the conscript, the artillery driver and the officer 
alike, all the French accounts doing justice to 
these light horsemen. It is only in private 
letters, hardly in the official documents, that 
England can learn the heroism of her Hussars 
at Waterloo. 

Meanwhile the 52nd had crossed to the left of 
the road and scattered a column debouching 
from Planchenoit, behind the buildings of La 
Belle Alliance," in front of which a mass of guns 
had been left to .their fate. The regiment passed 
on, and on its return found them marked with the 
numbers of other corps that had succeeded them. 

All the causeway was crammed with flying 
troops : a terrible struggle for liberty took place, , 
in which discipline gave way to terror. General 
officer and baggage waggon fled side by side ; 
rifles and accoutrements were thrown away 
that their owners might hurry faster. The 
fields, the by-lanes, the woods, were all filled 
with fugitives — even the Emperor had to turn 
aside in order to get past. 

Marshal Ney was one of the last to go. He 
had joined the army on the 15th, without 
money, without horses, almost without a uni- 
form. He was to be found everywhere on 
that dreadful i8th, planting batteries, heading 
charges, rallying, raging, facing death at every 
stride, and when it was over he tottered ex- 
hausted away on foot, leaning on the shoulder 
of a compassionate corporal. 

Now the Prussians have arrived in force. 
Planchenoit, its churchyard and crooked street. 
Its orchards and barnyards, are full of French 
and Prussian slain. 

The 3'oung Guard fought well, but they were 
outnumbered, and Blucher rides into the 
chaiissee at La Belle Alliance. 

A Uhlan band plays " God Save the King," 
and farther along the road they meet the Duke 
returning on his way in the dark to write his 
despatches announcing the victory. 

The two soldiers embrace, and sit talking for 
ten minutes while the stream goes hurrying 
by. Then the fiery old German follows up 
the retreat with a fury that is incredible. 

At Genappe the Silesians have taken the 
Emperor's baggage ; Gneisenau mounts a 
drummer on one of the cream-coloured carriage 
horses, and away they go into the darkness after 
the fugitives, driving them from seven bivouacs, 
slaving, hacking, giving no rest, until the land 
is strewn for leagues with dead men, fallen under 
the Prussian steel. 

Merciless^it may seern to' us; • looking back • 
with fourscore years between us and that 
moonlit night ; but such was the vitality of 
the French that the most drastic steps were 
necessar}- to prevent their army mustering again. 

What can I say of the battle-field, after the 
pursuit had rolled away, and it was left to the 
searcher and the pkmderer ? 

If I could re-create one tithe of the horror 
those slopes and roads revealed you would f. 
sicken and turn away in disgust. 

Prussian,- Belgian, and British, there were, 
out on the plain that night, bent on no errand i. 
of mercy ; stragglers and camp - followers . 
creeping from group to group, tearing the 
rings from the fingers, and the teeth from the 
jaws ! 

Many a life was foully taken that tender 
nursing might have saved ; but there were some 
groups who sought for a lost comrade or a 
favourite officer, and women there were, with 
woman's gentle sympathy, soothing and tending 
as only they can soothe. 

The bulk of the British force had gone to 
bivouac beyond and about RosQmm.e, which 
was behind the French position ; but some 
detached portions remained where they had 
fought, too weary to advance with the others. 

Mercer was one of these, and creeping under 
the cover of a waggon, worn out with slaughter, 
he slept — waking to find a dead man stark and 
stiff beneath him ! His men came to him in 
the morning, and asked permission to bury one 
of their comrades. 

" Why him in particular? " asked the captain, 
for many a bearskin-crested helmet was empty in 
"G Troop." 

Then they showed him the horror of it. 

The whole of the man's head had been carried 
away, leaving the fleshy mask of what had 
been a face, from which the e\-es were still 
staring wildl}-. 

" We have not slept a wink, sir," they said. 
" Those eves have haunted us all night ! " 

With daybreak men stood aghast at the 
spectacle of that battle-ground. 

The losses have never been satisfactorily 
reckoned ; but I have seen it stated, curiously, 
that of the red-coats q,999 were actually killed 
there. The French loss for the four days' 
campaign has been counted as 50,000 ; and you 
can tell off the survivors of both armies to-day, 
perhaps, on the fingers of one hand. 

Everv house in the neighbourhood was full of 




wounded. For three days, the doctors tell 
us, they were being brought in by the 
search parties, a sharp frost having con- 
gealed the wounds of many and so saved 
them, ai;d lines of carts jolted the shrieking 
wretches over that dreadful causeway to 
Brussels in endless succession. 

At Hougoumont, where the orange-trees 
were in blossom, they flung three hundred 
bodies down a well : it was a simple 
method, saving time and trouble ; but a 
dark tradition lingers that voices were 
heard afterwards, faintly imploring, from 
the cavernous depths. 

Wild strawberries hung their red clusters, 
and the little, blue forget-me-not peeped in the 
woods ; birds of prey came croaking on the 
wing ; and within twenty - four hours ten 
thousand horses had been flayed by the Flemish 
peasants, many of whom made fortunes by 
plunder ! 

Men gathered jewelled decorations and crosses 
by handfuls : it was impossible to take three 
strides without treading on a sword, a broken 
musket, a carbine, or a corpse ! 

Near La Haye Sainte they found a pretty 
French girl in hussar uniform, and the farm 
itself was encrusted with blood ; tufts of hair 
adhered to the doorways, the yard presenting 
a sight never to be forgotten. A pole to 
which a scrap of torn silk clung was picked up 
under the body of Ensign Nettles : it was the 
King's colour. 

The remains of three French brothers named 
Angelet were among the slain, and the historv 
of one v.-as most romantic. Wounded in some 


of the Napoleonic wars, where he had lost a leg, 
he was taunted by a lady with the fact that he 
could only talk of what he /lad done for France 
— that he could do no more. The brave fellow 
seized his crutches, limped after the army, and 
met his fate at Waterloo. 

Picton's body — wounded at Ouatre Bras, 
though none but his valet knew it — was 
taken to England, and by a strange coincidence 
was laid, at the Fountain Inn, Canterbury, 
on the very table at which he had dined. 
a fortnight before, on his way to join the 

Byng of the Guards said to Sir John Colborne 
in Paris : " How do your fellows like our getting 
the credit of what you did at Waterloo ? I could 
not advance because our ammunition was all 

The Foot Guards got their bearskins as a well- 
merited reward, only the Grenadier companies 
wearing them during the battle. The 52nd. 
for their great share in the closing scene, 
received — nothing ! and the Duke, when 


approached on the subject of that glaring 
injustice, said, '' Oh, I know nothing of the 
services of particular regiments. There was 
glory enough for all ! " 

They are nearly all gathered to the " land 
o' the leal " now. The last of Hougoumont's 
defenders — Von Trovich of the Nassauers — died 
in 1882 ; Albemarle, who fought with the 14th 
Foot, passed away quite recently ; while the 
Guards turned out to bury a veteran not 
long since who paraded for the last time in 
Caterham workhouse 1 In 1894 John Stace\% 
aged ninety-six^ of the German Legion, walked 


from Yorkshire to London to see if his tcupcncc 
a day might not be increased. 

For thirty years you could mark, by the deeper 
colour of the corn, where they had buried the 
dead in greatest numbers : they still find buttons 
in the plough-land after rain, with bullets cut in 
half against our sword-blades, and sometimes 
bones ! Ten thousand people, on an average, 
visit the field each year ; and, though the land 
lies dozing under its wealth of crops, and the 
lark trills his requiem where the guns once 
thundered, and the herdboy's song rises in place 
of " Vive I'Empereur ! "—never will the nations 
forget that fearful Sunday or the names of 
Wellington and Waterloo. 

' After Sir Thomas Law.tMC. PR A.'^ 


Emperor' _^ 

Francis JoszphjMuftna 

NOT since the " Volkerschlacht," or Ar- 
mageddon of the nations at Leipzig, 
in 1 8 13, when the aUies overthrew 
the hosts of Napoleon, had Europe 
witnessed such a stupendous conflict as was 
fought near Koniggratz, on the Upper Elbe, 
in Bohemia, on the 3rd July, 1866. This battle 
was called of Koniggratz by the Prussians, • of 
Sadowa by the Austrians ; and, as a matter of 
topographical fact, the latter was the more 
correct title, just as the field of Waterloo is 
known as Mont Saint Jean to the French, and 
Belle Alliance to the Prussians — in both cases 
with more justice. At Leipzig about 430,000 
men had mingled in fight, while at Koniggratz, 
as we shall call it in compliment to our ancient 
and honoured allies the Prussians, the total 
number of combatants was about 435,000, or 
close on half a million of men. 

What had called these armed hosts into the 
field ? Briefly put, it was the question which 
was to be the leading Power among the Ger- 
man-speaking peoples — Austria or Prussia. For 
centuries the former had asserted this position 
of proud pre-eminence, but there came a time 
when this claim of the Hapsburgs was no longer 
allowed by the great and growing monarchy of 
the Hohenzollerns. Austria wanted to have 
everything in Germany done after her particular 
way of thinking, and Prussia began to find it 
quite incompatible with her honour and her 
self-respect to be thus lorded over by a State 
vv^hich in many respects she deemed to be her 
inferior in point of light and leading. Thus it 
came to pass that these two rival Powers began 
to lead a verv cat-and-dog life at the council- 
board of the Germanic Confederation of States ; 
and Bismarck, who was the rising statesman of 
his time, prophesied that this condition of things 
could go on no longer, and that the only remedy 

for this eternal quarrelling between the two 
was a policy of " blood and iron " on the part 
of Prussia. 

Once, however, they seemed to have sud- 
denly become the best of friends. This was 
when they joined their forces, in 1864, to snatch 
Schleswig-Holstein, or the Elbe Duchies, as they 
were -called, from the rule of the Danes. Bis- 
marck was the great champion of " Germany for 
the Germans," and he thought it scandalous and 
unreasonable that a foreign people like the Danes 
should continue to domineer over the Teutons 
in the • Elbe Duchies. Prussia and Austria, 
therefore, at his far-seeing instigation, combined 
to oust the Danes from the Duchies, and this 
they finally did after storming the Danish 
redoubts at Diippel. 

But the worst of it was that the conquerors 
could not agree as to their spoil. Prussia wanted 
to do one thing with the Duchies, and Austria 
another. It is a common enough thing for 
thieves to fall out over the distribution of their 
booty, and this was precisely what the rival 
German Powers did with regard to Schleswig- 
Holstein. Bismarck, the long-headed statesman 
that he was, clearly foresaw that they must and 
would do so, and this was the very thing he 
wanted. He wished to have a good pretext for 
going to war with Austria, in order that this 
Power might be altogether excluded from the 
German family of nations, and that Prussia, 
taking her place, might inaugurate a new and 
better era for the Teutonic peoples. Austria 
had fallen into the trap which he had laid for 
her, and she had no choice but to fight. Each, 
of course, claimed to be the injured party, and 
the old game of the wolf and the lamb was 
played over again to the amusement of all 
Europe. Some of the other German States 
sided with Austria, and some with Prussia, but 



the former were soon defeated and disarmed/ 
and then Prussia was free to direct her whole 
strength against the Austrians. 

It was known that the latter \Vere collecting 
all their strength in Bohemia, and King William,, 
who had General von Moltke, the greatest soldier 
of his time, for his Chief of the Staff, or principal 
counsellor in affairs of war, resolved to make 
a dash into this province before its Austrian de- 
fenders knew where they were, and smite them, 
as David did the Philistines, hip and thigh. 
Accordingly, he divided the forces of his king- 
dom into three main armies, each composed of 
several Army Corps. The command of the First, 
or centre, Army, numbering about 03,000, was 
entrusted to the King's nephew, Prince Frederick 
Charles, called by his soldiers the " Red Prince," 
from the scarlet uniform of the Zieten Hussars 
which he generally wore; the Second, or left-: 
hand Army, totalling 100,000 men, was given 
to the King's high-souled and chivalrous son, 
the Crown Prince, Queen Victoria's son-in-law ; 
while the Third, or right-hand host, called of 
the Elbe, fell to General Herwarth von Bitten- 
feld, who fought throughout the campaign with 
a courage worthy of " Hereward, the last of the 
English.'' But these three huge armies did not 
invade Bohemia in one overwhelming mass. 
Moltke, the great " battle-thinker," the " Silent 
One in Seven Languages," as his friends fondly 
called him, knew a trick worth two of that. 
His maxim was, " march separately, strike com- 
bined"; and yet it behoved him to keep the 
Austrians in perfect ignorance of where he 
meant to strike. The Crown Prince, on the left, 
started with his army from Silesia ; the Red 
Prince set out from Lusatia, while Herwarth's 
point of departure was Thuringia. 

Did Moltke himself also take the field ? No, 
not at once ; for it meanwhile sufficed this great 
militarj' chess-player, this mathematical planner 
of victory, to sit quietly among his maps and 
papers at the offices of the Grand General Staff 
in Berlin, with his hand on the telegraph wire, 
and direct the movements of the three armies of 
invasion. Take the following description that 
was penned by an English witness of the crossing 
of the frontier by the army of the Red Prince : — 
" It was here " (at a toll-house gate) '' that Prince 
Frederick Charles took his stand to watch his 
troops march over the border. He had hardly 
arrived there before he gave the necessary orders, 
r and in a few moments the Uhlans, or Lancers, 
who formed the advance guard of the regiments, 
were over the frontier. Then followed the 

infantry. As the leading ranks. of each battalion 
arrived at the first point on the road from which 
they caught sight of the Austrian colours that 
showed the frontier, they raised a cheer, which 
was quickly caught up by those in the rear, and 
repeated again^ and again till, when the men 
came up to the toll-house and saw their soldier- 
prince standing on the border line, it swelled 
into a rapturous roar of delight, which only 
ceased to be replaced by a martial song that 
was caught up by each battalion as it poured 
into Bohemia. The chief himself stood calm 
and collected ; but he gazed proudly on the 
passing sections, and never did an army cross an 
enemy's .frontier better equipped, better cared 
for, or with a higher courage than that which 
marched out of Saxony that day." 

Over the picturesque hills of Saxony, over 
the Giant Mountains into the fertile plains of 
Bohemia, swiftly sped the three superbly-organ- 
ised armies like huge and shining serpents ; and 
ever nearer did they converge on the point which, 
with mathematical accuracy, had been selected 
as the place where they would have to coil and 
deliver their fatal sting of fire. Hard did the 
Austrians try to block the path of the triune 
hosts and crush them in detail ; but the terribly 
destructive needle-gun, with the forceful lance of 
the lunging Uhlan and the circling sabre of the 
ponderous Cuirassier, ever cleared the way, and 
a series of preliminary triumphs marked the pro- 
gress of the three armies towards junction and 
final victory. By the 2qth the Red Prince had 
reached Gitschin, the objective point of the 
invasion, while his cousin the Crown Prince lay 
at Koniginhof, on the left, a long day's march 
distant. Meanwhile the Austrians had all retired 
under the shelter of the guns of Koniggratz, a 
strongly fortressed town on the left bank of the 
Upper Elbe, there to take their final stand, with 
their backs, as 'twere, to the wall. 

The Austrians were commanded by Feldzeug- 
meister Benedek, and their army had been re- 
inforced by the troops of the King of Saxony, 
who had sided with the foes of Prussia in the 
impending conflict, and were sure to give a good 
account of themselves. An equall)- stubborn re- 
sistance was to be expected from the Hungarian 
subjects of the Emperor Francis Joseph, who 
were second to none in all his polyglot do- 
minions in respect of that ancient valour and 
other chivalrous qualities which had caused this 
gallant people to be called the " Engli.>h of the 
East." Finer horsemen than the Hungarians 
existed in no army in all the world ; and in this 



campaign, as in every other in which they had 
ever been engaged, the Austrians were particu- 
larly strong in cavalry. But, on the other hand, 
the Prussians were known to be armed with the 
lately-invented breech-loading needle-gun, while 
the Austrians still clung to the older-fashioned 
muzzle-loader, and professed to make light of 
their opponents' new-fangled rifle. They were 

thought. It appears that we have over 15,000 
prisoners, while the loss on the Austrian side is 
still greater in dead and wounded, being no less 
than 20,000. Two of the Army Corps are utterly 
scattered, and some of the regiments are wiped 
out to the last man. I have, indeed, up till now 
seen more Austrian prisoners than Prussian 

'major von ungar came spurring in with a great piece of news" {p. 77 

soon to be shown convincingl}- which was the 
better weapon. 

It was not till June 30th that King William 
and his paladins, Moltke, Bismarck, and von 
Roon, left Berlin by rail for the seat of war. 
They had scorned to witness the preliminary 
heats, so to speak, and only wanted to be present 
at the grand final. On July 2nd, after reaching 
Gitschin, which was near the headquarters of the 
Red Prince, Bismarck wrote to his wife : " Just 
arrived from Sichrow. The field of battle there 
is still covered with corpses, horses, and arms. 
Our victories (so far) are greater than we 

On the night of the same day (2nd July) 
King William, now in his seventieth year, had 
retired to rest in a little room of the '* Golden 
Lion,'' which overlooks the market-place of 
Gitschin — a quaint little old town nestling 
among the hills of Northern Bohemia, on the 
southern side of the Giant Mountains. Wearied 
out with the fatigues of the day, he had hardl}' 
closed his eyes in sleep when he was uncere- 
moniously woke up. His Majesty opened his 
eyes, and found Moltke standing by his bedside, 
the bearer of most important news, which Genera! 
Voigts-Rhetz had just brought in from the Red 


Prince, whose headquarters were some six miles 
further to the east, at the chateau of Kamenitz 
on the Koniggratz road. Voigts-Rhetz had first 
of all carried his momentous news to Moltke, 
who lodged on the opposite side of the square, 
and who was the real ruler of Prussia's battles, 
now and after in the French war. The King 
did nothing without consulting Moltke, nor 
did his Majesty ever issue an order that was 
not based on the well-thought-out advice of his 
Chief of the StaflF. 

The message of the Red Prince was of the verv 
highest importance, for it upset all the resolu- 
tions which had previouslv been taken at the 
Prussian headquarters. Early in the day the 
exact whereabouts of the Austrians was unknown. 
It was supposed that they were on the left, or 
eastern, side of the Elbe, furthest from the 
Prussians, with their right and left flanks resting 

this resolution was revoked and replaced by 
another which deprived the fagged-out Prussians 
of the pro.spect of their much-needed day's rest ; 
and a bold and rapid rider — Lieutenant von 
Norman — was despatched across country to the 
Crown Prince at Koniginhof to ensure his co- 
operation with the Red Prince in a particular 
manner on the morrow. 

But von Norman had barely started on his 
long and perilous ride when, lo and behold ! 
another officer. Major von Ungar, came spurring 
in to the quarters of the Red Prince with a great 
piece of news. Attended by onl}- a i^w dragoons, 
this officer had gone out scouting in the direction 
of Koniggratz, and discovered that the bull: of 
the Austrian army was without doubt on the 
right, or Prussian, side of the Elbe, holding a 
strong position on the further bank of the Bis- 
tritz brook, which ran very nearly parallel with 



on two Strong fortresses — Josephstadt and Konig- 
gratz, respectively — a position which it would 
have been terribl}- difficult, if not impossible, for 
their adversaries to assail ; so that, pending the 
discovery of their real whereabouts, it had been 
resolved to let the Prussian troops rest on the 
3rd, as they had been wearied out by their 
incredible feats of marching and fighting. Pre- 
sently, however, "from information received," 

the Elbe at a distance Irom it of some four miles. 
The position was strong, but not half so much so 
as the dreaded one beyond the Elbe, and the 
hearts of the Prussians jumped for joy. It seemed 
to them as if God had already delivered the 
Austrians into their hands, as Cromwell avowed 
of the Scots when they left their high ground 
at Dunbar and descended to meet his Iron- 
sides on the plain. After gleaning this priceless 


battlp:s of the nineteenth century. 

intelligence, von Norman had to ride for his life. 
A squadron of Austrian cavalry made a dash to 
catch him, but he rode like an English fox- 
hunter, and only left behind him, as a souvenir 
of his audacious visit to the enemy's lines, a part 
of his tunic which had been carried away by an 
Austrian lance-thrust. 

This, then, was the news which Voigts-Rhetz 
had brought to Moltke and the King at Gitschin, 
and then the situation underwent an immediate 
and final change. It was resolved to assail the 
Austrian position early on the morrow^ with the 
whole force of the united Prussian armies, and 
another message to this efiFect, cancelling all 
previous ones, as a codicil does a will, was at 

Prussia us.. 

midnight despatched to the Crown Prince on 
one hand and Herwarth on the other, informing 
them of the altered state of things, and desiring 
them on the morrow to assail the flanks of the 
Austrians as fast and furiously as ever they could ; 
while the Red Prince would apply his battering- 
rams to their elevated and strongly entrenched 
centre. This urgent message was entrusted to 
Colonel von Finckenstein, who, after a very dark 
and dangerous ride of twenty miles, reached the 
Crown Prince's quarters about four o'clock on 
the morning of the 3rd July. 

That fateful morning was a very wet and raw- 
one, pretty similar to that which, after a rainy 
night, had dawned upon the English at Waterloo. 
Long before midnight the troops had all been in 
motion to the front. The moon occasionally 
blinked out, but was mostly hidden behind 
clouds, and then could be distinctly seen the 
cleca\-ing bivouac fires in the places v/hich had 

been occupied by the troops along the road from 
Gitschin to Sadowa and Koniggriitz. These 
flres looked like large will-o'-the-wisps as their 
flames flickered about in the wind and stretched 
for manv a mile, for the bivouacs of so large a 
force as that of the Red Prince's armv of nearh 
1 00,000 men spread over a wide extent of country. 
With the first signs of dawn a drizzling rain came 
on, which lasted until late in the afternoon. The 
wind increased and blew coldiv upon the soldiers, 
and they were short of both sleep and food, while 
frequent gusts bore down the water-laden corn 
on both sides of the ground along the way. 

Moltke and his staff" had left Gitschin by four 
o'clock, driving to Horitz, where, mounting 
their horses, they rode on to Dub and joined 
Prince Frederick Charles. For this was the 
centre point of assembly. " A few short words,'' 
wrote the Times correspondent, " passed from 
the Commander of the First Arm}- to his Chief of 
the Staff ; a few aides-de-camp^ mounting silently, 
rode away ; and, as it were, by the utterance of 
a magician's spell, one hundred thousand armed 
Prussian warriors, springing into sight as if from 
the bowels of the earth, swept over the southern 
edge of the Milowitz ravine towards the hill oi 

About eight o'clock, King William, with Bis- 
marck and others of his great men, arrived upon 
the scene. Behind the King, besides his staff", 
were his ro3^al guests, w'ith their numerous 
retinues of adjutants and equerries, grooms and 
horses, in number equal unto about a couple ot 
squadrons — making a fine mark for the shells of 
the Austrians. Before mounting his good mare 
" Fenella " — thenceforth to be called '' Sadowa '' 
— the King had got into his great-coat and put 
on goloshes over his boots. A wrong pair of 
spurs had been brought from Gitschin and would 
not fit. A groom whipped his off", and strapped 
them on over the ro^-al goloshes ; and thus 
equipped, with a field-glass slung round his neck 
by a long strap, the King rode away to view the 
course of the terrific fight, being everywhere 
received with tremendous cheering by his 
enthusiastic troops. For it touched their hearts 
to see so hoary a king come forth at the head 
of his " Volk in Waffen^^ or people in arms, to 
do strenuous battle with the alien. No roi 
faineant^ or stay-at-home monarch he, but one 
of the good old sort, like our own royal Edwards 
and Harries, under whose personal leadership 
the French were " beaten, bobbed, and thumped '' 
at Cre'cy and at Agincourt. 

It had been thought incredible b\- the Prussian 



leaders that the Austrians should have waived 
the advantages of a position behind the Elbe, 
and come forward several miles on its hither 
bank so as to meet their adversaries on the 
terms of the latter. But a closer inspection of 
their line of battle showed that it had been 
singularly well chosen. Along their front ran 
the boggy Bistritz brook, its banks dotted with 
farmsteads, villages, and clumps of wood, forming 
fine cover for infantry ; while beyond this the 
ground rose in gentle undulations till it finally 
assumed the 
appearance of 
a commanding 
swell or ridge, 
from which 
Benedek's bat- 
teries could 
pour down 
death and de- 
struction on 
the advancing 
Prussians over 
the heads of 
his own infan- 
try when en- 
gaging the hel- 
meted wielders 
of the needle- 
gun. From the 
top of the 
slight eleva- 
tion whereon 
stands the vil- 
lage of Dub 
the ground 
slopes gently 
down to the 
Bistritz, which 

the road crosses at the village of Sadowa, a mile 
and a quarter from Dub. From Sadowa the 
ground again rises beyond the Bistritz to the 
little village of Chlum (mark that village !), 
conspicuous by its church- tower crowning the 
gentle hill, a mile and a half bevond Sadowa — 
a beautiful bit of countrv not unlike some parts 
of England with its hill and dale, clustering 
cottages, peeping chateaux, hedgerows, groves, 
and waving grain-fields. Profiting to the full by 
the defensive advantages of this terraced terrain, 
the Austrians had seamed it with entrenched 
batteries, and palisaded their approaches with 
felled trees and intertwisted branches, making 
of the whole a natural fortress formidable to 
their assailants. 


But nothing could daunt the hearts of the 
Prussians. They had got to beat Benedek and 
his 220,000 men, and the sooner the better. The 
Red Prince was afraid that, after all, Benedek 
might seek to retire behind the Elbe, and this 
had to be prevented at all costs and hazards. The 
Prince might not be able to beat him off-hand, 
but he could at least fasten on Benedek like a 
bulldog and hold him fast there till the arrival 
of the Crown Prince, when the bull could be 
altogether felled and laid upon its back. Bang, 

therefore, went 
the Prussian 
batteries, and 
presently the 
whole sinuous 
line of battle, 
about five 
miles from Cis- 
towes (oppo- 
site Chlum) on 
the Prussian 
left, to Ne- 
chanitz on the 
right, began to 
be wrapped in 
wreathed can- 
non smoke. 
The Austrians 
returned shot 
for shot, and 
neither side 
either gained 
or lost ground. 
In the centre 
the Prussians 
pushed battery 
after battery 
into action, and kept up a tremendous fire on 
the Austrian guns ; but these returned it with 
interest, knowing the ground well, and every 
shell fell true, heaping the ground with dead 
and wounded men and horses. 

While this furious cannonade was going on, 
columns of Prussian infantry were moved down 
towards the Bistritz, with intent to storm the 
line of villages— Sadowa, Dohalitz, and Dohalicka 
—on the further side. Shortly before their pre- 
parations were complete, the village of Benatek, 
on the Austrian right, caught fire, and the 7th 
Prussian Division made a dash to secure it ; yet 
the Austrians were not driven out by the flames, 
and here, for the first time in the battle, it came 
to desperate hand-to-hand fighting. But the 



bloody inclcc here was nothing to what was now 
mixing up the combatants in the wood of Sa- 
dowa, and converting it into a perfect slaughter- 
house and hell upon earth. Boldly the Prussians 

he was watching the progress of events in front 
of Sadowa wood some roe-deer, startled from 
their leafy glades by the infernal pother around 
them, came bounding out and oast him : and 


advanced upon this village and its wood, plying 
the rapid needle-gun with awful effect upon 
the wood's defenders. But nothing could have 
exceeded the splendid courage with which the 
Austrian battalions clung to their cover, and 
their volleys, supplemented as they were by a 
truly infernal fire from the batteries behind and 
above, seemed to mow down whole ranks of 
their assailants. But neither bullets nor shells 
could decide the fierce struggle ; the bayonet 
had to be called in to do this. And now ensued 
most horrible scenes of carnage, which ended, 
however, before eleven o'clock, in the capture by 
the Prussians of the aforesaid villages. And no 
wonder that the Austrians chose to call the 
tremendous battle after the village and wood 
where they had made so glorious but ineffectual 
a stand. 
Moltke himself afterwards related that, while 

also how, when he and his suite rode forward a 
little way along the Lissa road to reconnoitre the 
Austrian position, he encountered an ownerless 
ox plodding along, serenely indifferent to the 
shells that were bursting all around it. Opposite 
the Sadowa wood on the Lissa heights, the 
Austrians had planted a most formidable 
entrenched line of guns, and Moltke afterwards 
told how he succeeded in getting the King to 
counter-order a command to storm these en- 
trenched batteries from the front, which could 
onlv have ended in the bloodiest of disasters to 
their assailants. 

About this time Bismarck, seeing how little 
headway the Prussians were making, began to 
be rather apprehensive as to the general result, 
fearing even that, if the Crown Prince came not 
up soon, they might, after all, be beaten. But 
one little incident gave him fresh hope. Taking 



out his cigar- case he offered a weed to Moltke, 
who deHberately chose the best of the lot. 
"Oh," thought Bismarck to himself, "if Moltke 
is calm enough to do that, we need have no 
fear after all." 

The coming of the Crown Prince, with his 
additional hundred thousand men, had been as 
anxiously looked for as the arrival of Bliicher on 
the field of Waterloo, and in truth the two situa- 
tions were closely alike. Suddenly Bismarck, 
who had been looking intently in the Crown 
Prince's direction, lowered his glass and pointed 
to certain lines in the far distance, but these the 
others pronounced to be furrows. " No," said 
Bismarck, looking again, " the spaces are not 
equal : they are advancing lines." And so they 
were ; and by eleven o'clock the smoke of 
som--^ Austrian batteries furnished a convincing 

time before his advance had thus been signalised, 
Moltke made answer to the King, who had 
been questioning him as to the prospects of the 
fight, " To-day your Majesty will win, not only 
the battle, but also the campaign." 

" The Prussian reserves," wrote a correspond- 
ent with the Austrians, '' were once more called 
upon ; and from half-past twelve till nearly one 
o'clock there was an artillery fire from centre to 
left for six miles or more, which could not well 
have been exceeded by any action of which 
history makes mention. The battle was assum- 
ing a more awful and tremendous aspect, and 
the faint rays of sunshine which shot at inter- 
vals through the lifting clouds only gave the 
scene a greater terror." About this time, also, 
" Benedek and his staff passed through the 6th 
Corps, which was in reserve. As the green 


wood" {p. 80). 

proof that their fire was directed, not 
against the Red Prince's, but " Unser Fritz's " 
army ; and the words " The Crown Prince is 
coining ! " passed from lip to lip. But, some 

plumes were seen rapidly advancing, the bands 
broke forth into the National Anthem, and the 
men cheered their commander with no uncertain 
note. Faces broke into broad smiles ; Jager 


hats were thrown into the air ; all seemed joyous 
in the anticipation of an approaching triumph. 
Benedek, however, waved to them to cease 
shouting, saying, in his peculiar tone of voice, 
' Not now, my children : wait till to-morrow.' " 
And it was wise advice ; for by this time Benedek 
had begun to suspect that he and his men would 
soon all have a verv different song to sing. 

The storm and stress of battle were now begin- 
ning to tell heavily on the Austrians. They 
were, it is true, still holding their own, or some- 
thing like it, on the line of the Bistritz ; but 
what is that which suddenly attracts the atten- 
tion of Benedek and his staff behind the village 
of Chlum ? They gallop away thither to inquire 
into the cause of all this new turmoil, and are 
greeted with a destructive volley from the needle- 
guns of '' Unser Fritz,'' who had by this time, 
after a forced march of frightful difficulty across 
the sodden country from Koniginhof, come upon 
the scene with his Guards, and not only turned 
the flank, but positively fastened on the rear of 
the Austrian fighting line, at which he was now 
hammering away with might and main. But his 
path, so far, had been encumbered with corpses 
and mutilated bodies in sickening masses. 
" Around us,'' he wrote in his Diarv, '' lay or 
hobbled about so many of. the well-known 
figures of the Potsdam and Berlin garrisons. A 
shocking appearance was presented by those who 
were using their rifles as crutches, or were being 
led up the heights by some other unwounded 
comrades. The most horrid spectacle, however, 
was that of an Austrian battery, of which all the 
men and horses had been shot down. . . . 
It is a shocking thing to ride over a battle-field, 
and it is impossible to describe the hideous muti- 
lations which present themselves. War is really 
something frightful, and those who create it with 
a stroke of the pen, sitting at a green-baize table, 
little dream of what horrors they are conjuring 
up. ... In Rosberitz, where the fight must 
have been frightfully bitter, to judge from the 
masses of dead and wounded, I foimd my kins- 
man. Prince Antony of Hohenzollern, who had 
been shot in the leg by three balls," and died of 
his wounds soon after. 

With the turning of the Austrian right by the 
Crown Prince, the battle was virtuallv won. On 
the extreme left, Herwarth had played similar 
havoc with the Saxons, in spite of the heroic 
desperation with which they fought ; and by 
four o'clock the Prussian line of attack resem.bled 
a huge semi-circle hemming in the masses of 
battered and broken Austrian troops. Half an 

hour later the latter, perceiving that victoiy had 
at last been snatched from their grasp, began to give 
way all along their line ; and then, with drums 
beating and colours flying, the Red Prince's men. 
with one accord, rose from their positions and 
began a general advance. Perceiving his oppor- 
tunity, the King now gallantly placed himself at 
the head of the whole cavalry reserve of the First 
Army, which " charged and completely over- 
threw," to quote his Majesty's own words, a 
similar mass of Austrian horsemen. 

The nature of the ground had hitherto pre- 
vented the cavalry of either army from acting in 
masses, but the countr)- was more open on the 
line of retreat to Koniggratz, and it now became 
the scene of several splendid lance and sabre 
conflicts. As the squadrons of the 3rd Prussian 
Dragoons were rushing forward to charge some 
Austrian battalions near the village of Wiester, 
an Austrian Cuirassier brigade, led by an Eng- 
lishman of the name of Beales, charged them 
in flank. They drove the Prussians back, and, 
smiting them heavily with their ponderous 
swords, nearly destroyed the dragoons ; but 
Hohenlohe's Prussian Uhlans, seeing their com- 
rades worsted, charged with their lances couched 
against the Austrian flanks, and compelled them 
to retire. Pressed b}- the Lancers they fell back, 
fighting hard, but then the scarlet Zieten Hussars 
charged them in turn in the rear. A fierce 
combat ensued, and the gallant Beales himself 
was borne wounded to the ground. 

But all would not avail. The Austrians were 
in full flight towards the fortress of Koniggratz, 
pursued by cavalry, volleyed at by infantry, and 
exposed to ever-increasing showers of shell-fire. 
Yet from some positions of advantage they con- 
tinued to retaliate in kind ; and it was while 
standing watching the pursuit that King William 
and his suite became exposed to a terrific counter- 
fire of shells. Bismarck, who was still with him, 
ventured to chide his Majesty for thus exposing 
his precious person so unnecessarily. '' Does 
your j\Iajesty, then, think they are swallows ? '^ 
asked Bismarck, on the King affecting to 
make light of the Avhizzing of shells and 
bullets. " No one," wrote Bismarck to his wife, 
'' would have ventured to speak to the King 
as I did, when a whole mass of ten troopers 
and fifteen horses of a Cuirassier regiment lay 
wallowing in their blood close to us, and the 
shells whizzed in unpleasant proximity to the 
King, who remained just as quiet and composed 
as if he had been on the parade-ground at 
Berlin." In spite of all remonstrances the King 



would not budge, so, edging up on his dark 
chestnut behind the King's mare, Bismarck gave 
her a good sly kick with the point of his boot, 
and made her bound forward with her royal 
rider out of the zone of iire. 

On coming up with the troops of the Crown 
Prince, the King had been nearly swallowed up 
by them for sheer jo}-. At sight of the venerable 
monarch, who had been exposing his person 
throughout the bloody fray like the most dutiful 
of his soldiers, battalion after battalion — some 
the mere shadows of their former selves — burst 

cheering of the troops of my extreme right and 

his extreme left wing Two years ago I 

embraced him as victor at Diippel ; to-day we 
were both victors : for, after the stubborn stand 
made by his troops, I had come to decide the 
day with my army." 

The battle had been won, but at what a 
terrible cost ! Even the victors shuddered at 
the sight of the multitudes of bodies which 
heaped the blood}- field. By superior arms, 
superior numbers, and superior strateg}-, Prussia, 
at the cost of 10,000 of her bravest sons, had 


into frenzied cheering and rushed forward, officers 
and men, to kiss the hand, the boot, the stirrup 
of their beloved leader. But presently a scene 
more touching still was presented to the vic- 
torious Prussian troops, when the heroic Crown 
Prince rode up and met his father. " I reported 
to the King," wrote the Crown Prince, "the 
presence of my arm}' on the battle-field, and 
kissed his hand, on which he embraced me. 
Neither of us could speak for a time. He was 
the first to find words, and then he said he was 
pleased that I had been successful, and had 
proved my capacity for command, handing me 
at the same time the order ' Pour le mcritc ' 
(highest of Prussian war decorations) for my 
previous victories." Earlier in the day " Unser 
Fritz " had met his cousin the Red Prince. 
" ^Ve waved our caps to one another from afar, 
and then fell into one another's arms amid the 

won a crowning victory over her Austrian rival, 
who lost 40,000 men (including 18,000 prisoners), 
II standards, and 174 guns. "I have lost all," 
exclaimed the defeated Benedek, " except, alas ! 
my life ! " The highest proportion of the 
Prussian loss of 10,000 had fallen on Franzecky's 
Division, whereof 2,000, out of 15,000, had bittei> 
the Bohemian dust. But " Franzecky vor ! " 
("Franzecky to the front ! ") will always live \\\ 
the Prussian soldier's song as a memory of the 
ever-ready leader who bore the brimt of the 
awful struggle on the line of the Bistritz. 

That same night the King slept at Horitz — 
not upon a bed, but on his carriage cushions 
spread out on a sofa. Bismarck's couch was at 
first formed by a wisp of straw under the open 
colonnade of the same townlet, though after- 
wards he was invited to share the wretched 
room of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg. 



Moltke rode back to Gitschin, a distance of 
about twenty miles from the battle-field, where 
a cup of weak tea was all the refreshment that 
could be got for him ; and then, in a fever of 
fatigue, he threw himself down to sleep in his 
clothes, as he had to be up betimes and return 

long years to humble the pride of Austria ; 
it took William the Victorious, with Moltke as 
his " battle-thinker," but seven short days to 
achieve the same result. The Prussian soldier 
preferred to call the battle which he had just 
helped to win, Koniggratz, because this name 

"the crown prinxe rode up and met his father" (/. S3) 

to Horitz to procure the King's sanction for his 
further plans. 

It was he, the " Great Silent One," who had 
won the greatest and most momentous battle of 
modern times. 

It had taken Frederick the Great seven 

sounded to his ears as but a pun on the words 
" Dcm Komg gercitlis " (" The King will win "). 
But the King had only won by acting on the 
sage advice of his all-calculating Moltke, whose 
motto was " Erst ivdgen, dann wagen '' — thai 
is, " First weigh, then away ! '' 

THAT war whereby the power of Spain 
was broken in South America, is known 
as the South American War of Inde- 
pendence. On the one side was the 
imperial power of Spain fighting for supremacy ; 
on the other side were her colonists — Creoles, 
American natives of Spanish blood — fighting 
for freedom. 

The first pitched battle was fought in Mexico 
near Aculco, in 1810 ; the last, on the plain of 
Ayacucho, in Peru, on December 9th, 1824. 

Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador had already 
Arown off the Spanish yoke when General 
Bolivar, towards the end of 1823, arrived with 
his victorious army in Peru. He was hailed as 
■' The Deliverer," and addressed the National 
Congress at Lima in these words : — 

" The soldiers who have come from the Plate, 
the Maule, the Magdalena, and the Orinoco as 
the deliverers of Peru will not return to their 
native country till they are covered with laurels, 
till thev can pass under triumphal arches, nor 
till they can carry off as trophies the standards 
of Castille. They will conquer and leave Peru 
free, or they will die. This I promise." 

These words spoken, it remained to make 
them actualities ; and how this was done will 
form our stor^'. 

In June of the following year Bolivar took 
the field with 10,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. 
His cantonments were at Truxillo, and from 
there he began to move southwards to meet the 
enemv. The Spanish troops comprised 3,500 
at Cuzco under the Viceroy of Peru, Laserna ; 
b,5oo at Arequipa and Jauja under Canterac, and 
1 ,000 away in the remote south under General 
Valdez, who was soon to be recalled to assist his 
companions in arms. The Spanish force nearest 
to Bolivar was thus General Canterac's. This 
force was remarkablv efficient and in the highest 
state of discipline. Its equipments were superior 

and complete ; its artillery and cavalry par- 
ticularl}' well appointed ; and, what was not 
always the case with the liberating army, the 
troops were paid with the greatest regularity — a 
strong conducive to good discipline and order. 

On August 2nd Bolivar reviewed his army on 
the tableland between Rancas and Pasco, a little 
north of Reyes, situated at an altitude of 12,000 
feet above the level of the sea, and amid a scene 
as majestic as may be found in the world. On 
the west rose the Andes, while on the east, and 
stretching away to the Brazils were the sublime 
ramifications of the Cordilleras. Surrounded by 
natural displays of such magnitude, Bolivar's 
army, composed of veterans who had fought in 
the Peninsular War, seen the conflagration of 
Moscow and the capitulation of Paris — as well as 
purely South American troops — looked a mere 
handful. Still it was enthusiastic, and the 
hills rang with " Vivas " at the termination 
of the General's stirring address that was read 
simultaneously to each corps. 

" Soldiers,'' so ran the address, " you are about 
to finish the greatest undertaking Heaven has 
confided to men — that of saving an entire world 
from slaver}'. 

'' Soldiers ! the enemies j-ou have to over- 
throw boast of fourteen years of triumphs ; they 
are, therefore, worthy to measure their swords 
with ours, which have glittered in a thousand 

" Soldiers I Peru and America expect from 
you Peace, the daughter of Victory. Even 
liberal Europe beholds you with delight, because 
the freedom of the New World is the hope of 
the universe. Will 30U disappoint it ? No ! 
No ! No ! You are invmcible.'' 

Meanwhile, Canterac, having united his forces 
at Jauja, was marching northwards to meet 



Bolivar. Between the two there lay a lake, and 
the patriot army marched south on the west 
side of this lake, while the Spanish army 
marched north on the east side. The result of 
this was to delay for four months the general 
ewgagement that was expected. Instead of the 
armies meeting face to face on the line of their 
march, only detachments entered into action on 
the plain of Junin, which lies to the south of the 
lake. It was purely a cavalry engagement, this 
— not a shot was fired ; the lance and sabre 
alone were used. As it was, the Royalists were 
worsted, losing nineteen officers, 345 rank and 
file, and eighty prisoners. The Patriots lost only 
three officers and forty-two rank and file, with a 
few wounded. Canterac now fell back upon 
Cuzco, which he reached with less than 5,000 
men, his ranks thinned mostly by heavy de- 
sertions. The Patriot army continued to 
advance towards Cuzco, falling in, however, 
with no enemy. In October, Bolivar, expecting 
no further engagements that year, left the army 
and set out for Lima to hasten forward rein- 
forcements that were expected from Colombia. 
He gave instructions to his second in command, 
General Sucre, to go into cantonments at 
Andahuaylas and Abancay, and, as the rainy 
season was about to commence, to cease active 
liostilities for the time being. 

Bolivar had not been gone three da3's, when 
■General Sucre began to question in his 'own 
mind the wisdom of his superior officer's instruc- 
tions ; so he called a council-of-war, at which, 
besides himself, were Generals La Mar, Lara, and 
Miller — the last, a distinguished British soldier. 
At this council-of-war it was agreed that if 
they did as Bolivar had commanded, and lay idle 
in their tents, the Spanish forces, recruited and 
united at Cuzco, would come upon them and an- 
nihilate them. The position was a delicate one, 
for obedience to a superior officer is a soldier's 
first duty. Still, there was Valdez marching from 
the south to join Canterac and Laserna at Cuzco, 
and it was proposed to endeavour to intercept 
Valdez. Operations were thus entered upon in 
the face of Bolivar's strict orders to the contrary, 
and these operations had the effect of drawing 
the enemy out of his stronghold. 

Now followed two months of the mo t ex- 
traordinary manoeuvring that ever preceded 
a battle. The Royalists, under the Viceroy 
Laserna, began to move in a westerly direction 
from Cuzco, and the Patriots to fall back. Twice 
the Patriot army offered battle, and twice it was 
refused. The Royalists, sure of success, sought 

to get behind the Patriots, thus cutting off their 
retreat and so annihilating them. At length, 
after several brushes — of which the most serious 
occurred in the' Valley of Corpaguayco, where, 
besides losing their spare horses and some mules, 
the Patriots had 200 men killed, as against a 
death-roll of thirty on the other side — a position 
was reached which seemed to satisfy- the require- 
ments of both parties for the final grip. That 
position was on the plain of Ayacucho ; and it 
is here that Bolivar's address to the soldiers 
should have been delivered rather than on the 
eve of the affair of Junin : for it was here that 
the blow was struck that made the power oi! 



Dec. 9 1S24. 

.;6!5BB EEBBg V r^ 

.Heights of 'vnni Condoi-kaiiki 
'^ -''' 3gBI|iBIBIl5 ;? 


3fft eiQ B|4 




il—RoyalistCampJ I 

Ejionti^oeh ^. 

\ /^ I 'a in of. A tj a 'c\u c li o\ 
\ % 12„': P.-PJJ o q' p □ □ Q a a o | 





yalist army 
\ l_ I Patriot a>f}iy. | 
X. Royalist TrailUuri. 
C. Do. .4rtUUry BrigT Cacho. 
3. /*,' Div. Infantry (Sen. Monet 
4. 2'-'.rf Do. Do, l.rn. I'iltatoboi. 

5. Die. of I'anguard (!^n. f'aldez. 

6. fS Sqitadroni Cavalnj Brigr Ferraz. 

3. Patriot Tra,!!^urs 

f^n Indian vUtage).' 
9. Gen, Sucre. 
10. Div. Peru Gen. La Mar. 
I \. Div. Colombia Gen.Ctrdora. 
X2. Do. Do. Gen. Lara. 
'Cai'oJryj of Colombia. \ 

of Peru. \ 

.. of Bucnot M'jreA 
•ly fieU piece which til e Pntr 

Spain in South America reel and totter to its 

The plain of Ayacucho is situated at an alti- 
tude of 11, coo feet above sea-level, in the 
Peruvian department of Ayacucho. It is 
square-shaped and about two or three miles in 
circuit. On its north and south sides it is 
flanked by deep and rugged ravines. On the 
west it descends gradually for a couple of leagues 
to what was then the high road to Lima, and 
which runs along the base of a lofty mountain 
range which rises like a wall. On this side 
was stationed the Patriot army, its retreat by 
this road cut off by detachments sent by the 
Spanish Viceroy to destroy the bridges and 
render the defiles impassable. On the east siide 
the plain was terminated by the abrupt ridge of 
Condorkanki, and a little below the summit of 
this ridge the Royalist army bivouacked during 
the night preceding the fight. It was on the 

afternoon' of the 8th of December that the' 
respective armies reached these positions. 

The eve of battle is worth describing. After 
the men on each side had been refreshed, 
and about two hours before sunset, a Spanish 
battahon of Hght infantry filed down into the 
plain and extended itself at the foot of the hill. 
A light infantry battalion of the Patriot army 
went forth to meet it. The opposing battalions, 
arrayed in extended files, engaged in skirmishing 
and performed evolutions to the sound of the 
bugle. The steadiness and behaviour of the 
men on each side were admired by the officers, 
and both parties agreed now and then to in- 
tervals of rest. During these intervals officers 
from the opposing sides approached one another 
and engaged in conversation. In the Patriot 
army was a Spaniard, Lieutenant-Colonel Tur, 
whose marriage to a beautiful woman of Lima 
had made him espouse the native cause. In the 
other army was his brother, Brigadier-General 
Tur, who sent a message to the former, saying 
how he regretted to see him, a Spaniard, in the 
ranks of rebels, and bearing arms against his 
king and country. " Yet," the message continued, 
'' you may rely upon my protection when the 
coming battle will have placed you at the mercy 
of the Loyalists." The other brother was dis- 
posed to resent this message as an insult ; still, 
they drew near to each other and ultimately 
embraced in view of both armies. When the 
shadows began to deepen across the plain, the 
different battalions retired to their quarters to 
waken to more serious work in the morning. 

To waken, we have said. It is doubtful, how- 
ever, if a single eye on Ayacucho were closed in 
slumber that night. All knew that they were 
about to engage in battle ; none knew what 
the result might be, and whether this might not 
be his last night on earth. Both sides were 
wearied with the terrible marches and counter- 
marches, over mountains, down rocky defiles, 
and with the harassing watchfulness that had 
been continuously maintained. It was with the 
greatest difficulty that the officers of the Ro3'alist 
army had kept their troops together. To 
prevent them from deserting, the different corps 
had habitually bivouacked in column, sur- 
rounded by sentinels, and outside of these again 
liad been placed a circle of officers on constant 
dut}'. No soldier was allowed to pass the 
sentinels, who had strict orders to shoot down 
any one attempting to do so. Even detach- 
ments were not sent out for cattle and pro- 
visions, in case the}' shovild refuse to return ; so 


the Royalists had been obliged to eat the flesh 
of horses, mules, and asses. These galling 
restraints the soldiers knew could be ended in 
only one way, and that was by a decisive en- 
gagement with the enem}'. So eager wero 
they thus rendered for the fray that they had 
begun to murmur against their leaders, and were 
loudly accusing them of cowardice in avoiding" 
a conflict with the foe. 

On the other side, the Patriots, too, were 
sick of manoeuvring. They had been subject to 
constant harassing attacks from hostile Indians, 
who hurled stones down the mountain sides into 
their ranks while on the march, attacked 
detached parties, even made prisoners, whom 
they cruelly ill-treated. Again, their provisions 
were nigh exhausted, and so scarce had their 
horses become that many of the cavalry soldiers 
were mounted on mules. These matters, 
instead of improving, were with the progress of 
time only becoming worse. All, then, were 
anxious to have a termination put to the wear}- 
round of monotonous marching, with increasing 
exposure to dangers that from their continual 
presence had ceased to be exciting. Men so 
placed are not likely to sleep during the night 
preceding the day of battle. Besides, the dis- 
tance between the two armies measured only a 
mile, and Sucre, fearing that the Royalists might 
descend from their heights to surprise them in 
the dark, kept his corps in close column ready 
for the attack. He also sent forward the bands 
of two battalions with a company to the foot of 
the ridge. These continued to play during the 
night while a sharp fire was kept up upon 
the Royalist outposts, the idea being to make 
believe that the Patriots were under arms 
waiting to join in fight. In this way a 
lieutenant-colonel and three men were killed in 
the Spanish camp bv chance bullets, so near 
were the opposing armies. 

Under Sucre were 5,780 men, and these were 
arranged on the plain in the following order : — 

Bogota, Caracas, Voltigeros, and Pinchincha 
regiments, under General Cordova, on the right. 

Hussars of Junin, Granaderos of Colombia, 
Hussars of Colombia, Granaderos of Buenos 
Ayres regiments, cavalry, under General Miller, 
in the centre. 

Nos. I, 2, and 3 Legions regiments, under 
General La Mar, on the left. 

Bargas, Vencedores, Rifles regiments, under 
General Lara, in reserve. 

Artillery : one 4-pounder in front, under 
Commandant La Fuente. 



The Royalist arm}- numbered 9,310, and was 
commanded by the Viceroy, Laserna. It 
was posted on Condorkanki — a division under 
General Valdez on the north side of the height 
or extreme right of the Royalists ; next to him, 
and still on the Ro3'alist right, a division of 
infantry under General Monet, in the centre 

things that the Colombia cavalrj-man had to do 
on mounting was the fixing of his bridle reins 
above his knees. By this means he guided his 
charger, and so had his hands left free to wield 
his heav}- lance — a strong, tough sapling from 
twelve to fourteen feet long. ^ The Patriot 
cavalry, let it be mentioned, were the fines? 

/ // /' 

(/• 90.) 

cavalry, and on the left a division of infantry 
with seven pieces of artillery under General 
Villalobos. At dawn of day, an unperceived 
movement took place in the Royalist camp. 
The division under General Valdez, compris- 
ing four field-pieces, four battalions, and two 
squadrons of hussars, stole away to the north. 

It was a chilly morning while the men were 
buckling on their armour, saddling their horses, 
examining their bayonets, and putting in order 
their various accoutrements. Amongst the 

horsemen in the world, drawn from the gaiichoi, 
of the pampas, the guasos of Chili, and the 
llaneros of Colombia — all accustomed to ridt 
from childhood. 

Well, Avhile such little details as we have 
mentioned were in progress, and the mounting 
sun had tempered the chilly air, the men on both 
sides were observed rubbing their hands and 
in other trifling ways showing tne satisfaction 
which the nearness of the onset gave them. 

At nine o'clock the first move forward began. 




Then the division of infantry- on the RoyaHst 
Jeft under General Villalobos commenced to 
wind down the rugged side of Condorkanki. 
Laserna, the Viceroy, on foot, placed himself at 
the head of the descending files, and, obliquing 
to the left, led them into the plain. The other 
division of Royalist infantry, under General 
Monet, came down direct, while between these 
two divisions similarly descended the cavalry, 
the men leading their horses. As the different 
files reached the plain they silently formed into 
column. Meanwhile, General Sucre, of the 
Patriot armv, rode along his line, and to each 
corps individually, in forcible Avords, recalled the 
achievements of the past. This done, he took up 
a position in the centre, and to his whole army 
in a loud voice, said : " Soldiers ! Remember 
that upon the efforts of this day depends the fate 
of South America." 

Then began the forward movement of the 
Patriots, the division of infantry under General 
Cordova and two regiments of cavalry being 
ordered to advance. Cordova, in front of his 
division, now formed into four parallel columns 
with cavalry in the intervals, having gone a few 
steps, dismounted, and plunging his sword into 
his c"harger, exclaimed : 

" There lies ni}' last horse ! I have no means 
of escape, and we must fight it out together." 

This display of spirit on the part of their 
leader roused the men to such enthusiasm that 
they became irresistible. They thought of the 
enemy, not as something to be feared, but 
only as something to be vanquished. The 
consequence was that, having discharged their 
muskets, and Cordova's shout of " Onward, with 
the step of conquerors I '' ringing in their ears, 
they pressed forward and crossed bayonets with 
the foe. For four minutes, Avhich contained 
the work of hours, the two contending forces 
struggled, the mass swaying now this way and 
now that, so that it was impossible to tell which 
would give way. At an opportune moment the 
Colombian cavalry charged at full gallop, and 
with both hands free wielding their tough lances 
with such force that, their onset proved irresist- 
ible, and the Royalists lost ground. The vigour 
of the Patriots was only increased by this ad- 
vantage, which they followed up with such effect 
that the Royalists were hopelessly driven back 
with terrible slaughter. Colonel Silva, who led 
the cavalry charge, had fallen, covered with 
wounds. Wounded now, too, and taken prisoner, 
was Laserna, the Vicero\- himself — representative 
of the proud monarch of Spain. The routed 

Spaniards clambered up the rugged sides of 
Condorkanki, and the chasing Patriots deploy- 
ing, fired upon the fugitives, whose lifeless bodies 
rolled down the height till stayed by jutting 
crags or bushes. 

While the crags and bu.shes of Condorkanki 
are being thus bathed in Spanish blood, quite a 
different fortune is attending the Patriot arms 
on their left. As already mentioned, General 
Valdez, with four field-pieces, four battalions and 
two squadrons of cavalry, had stolen at dawn of 
day, unperceived by the Patriots, away north- 
wards from the Spanish camp. The object of 
that manceuvre now became apparent. He had 
made a detour of several miles, and while the 
contest we have just witnessed was still in the 
balance, suddenly opened a heavy fire from his 
four field-pieces and a battalion in extended files 
upon the Patriot left. This obliged two battalions 
of General La Mar's division, posted on the left, 
to fall back, and its retreat was not prevented by 
the battalion Bargas from General Lara's division, 
which had been kept in reserve, sent to support 
it. Two of Valdez's battalions had now crossed 
the ravine into the plain, and pressed at the 
double-quick upon the retiring Patriots. At 
this juncture General Aliller, who held a portion 
of the Patriot cavalr}- in reserve, led the Hussars 
of Junin against the Spaniards, and drove them^ 
back across the ravine. This brillian' ..harge 
conducted by Miller saved the battle. La Mar'j 
division was thereby enabled to rally, and came 
to Miller's support. The Patriots in this part of 
the field, animated by Cordova's success against 
the Viceroy and the shouts of victory that 
were echoed back from Condorkanki, proved an 
easy match for Valdez's now somewhat scattered 
forces, and the Spanish general, so famous for 
his marches and tactical skill, soon found his 
division broken, his artiller}' taken, his cavalry 
flying in disorder, and his infantry dispersed. 
The day was now lost and won in little more 
than an hour, and the vanquished Royalists 
flying in all directions. 

Among the Hussars of Junin so effectively led 
b}' Miller at the critical moment, were twent}-- 
five who, owing to the scarcity of horses, had 
no better steeds than baggage-mules. This was 
snnply for display and to lead the enemy tc 
think their cavalr\' numbered more than their 
horsemen actually did. These Hussars on mules 
were ordered to remain in the rear and not 
to take part in Miller's charge. But they 
answered : '' No ; we will conquer or die with 
our comrades.' And their braver^- was soon 



rewardea, for after the charge they were able to 
substitute good Spanish horses, whose riders had 
fallen, for their less nimble mules. Six weeks 
previously, when on a reconnoitring expedition 
towards Cuzco, General Miller had been sur- 
prised at a place called Chuquibamba, and his 
horse, which was the finest in the army, and 
which he had ridden at Junin, with an orderly, 
fell into the enemy's hands. This horse was now 
seen amongst Valdez's retreating troops. Its 
rider was immediately singled out for pursuit, 
cut down, and the horse restored to its old 
master. Another object of interest to the pur- 
suing Patriots were the silver helmets of the 
Spanish Hussars. The landscape gleamed with 
these helmets wherever bodies of cavalry moved. 
These became so attractive to the enem}' that 
many threw them off to stop the pursuit, and 
the gleam was quickly removed, the Patriots 
snatching them off and stowing them away in 
their valises. 

At one o'clock on the day of the battle the 
divisions of the Patriot army, under Generals 
La Mar and Lara, reached the summit of Con- 
dorkanki. Here General Canterac was stationed, 
but before sunset he sued for terms of peace, 
and an hour later rode to General Sucre's tent, 
where the terms were agreed to. By these 
terms Canterac, as supreme commander in Peru, 
agreed to surrender to the liberating army the 
whole of the territory possessed by Spain as far 
as the Desaguadero. So in effect ended the 
War of Independence, and so was extinguished 
the power of Spain across the seas. 

The losses on that da}', on the side of the 

vanquished, were 1,400 killed and 700 wounded. 
Amongst the captured, besides the Viceroy 
and generals, were 16 colonels, 68 lieutenant- 
colonels, 484 officers, and 3,200 rank and file. 
The victors won at a cost of 370 killed and 
609 wounded. The battle of Ayacucho was 
regarded as the most brilliant ever fought in 
South America. The discipline of the troops, 
seasoned with years of fighting, was considered 
such as would have been creditable to the best 
European armies, while they were led by the 
ablest officers on both sides. Bravery was 
conspicuous on every hand, the victor}- being 
not a matter of chance, but of determination, 
fire, and valour. 

Besides General ^Miller, who played so im- 
portant a part in this action, other countrymen 
of ours were that day engaged fighting for the 
cause of Independence. Among them were 
Major-General Francis B. O'Connor, brother of 
Fergus O'Connor ; Major-General James Whittle. 
Colonel William Ferguson, Lieutenant Martin, 
who was killed, Major-General Arthur Sand, 
Captain George Brown, wounded, Captam Henr}- 
Wyman, wounded, and Captain Miller Hallowes. 
These were chiefly officers in the Colombian 
battalion of Rifles, which was originalh' composed 
entirely of British subjects. During the long 
course of the war these had died or been killed, 
and the regiment was recruited from Colombian 
Indians, the officers, however, being still British. 
This regiment was the foremost in the fight 
amongst the troops that routed the divisions of 
Monet and Villalobos at the base of the Heights 
of Condorkanki. 


TERSON, sixty-nine years old, ripe 
with experience gained in at least 
two wars, but burdened it may be 
with more of the indecision and fears of old age 
than is the usual lot of man — seeing before him, 
in fact, bogev numbers of enemies — marched his 
army one day this way and the next day that ; 
and frittering away the time, at length, instead 
of fighting, he allowed General Johnston and Confederate soldiers to slip quietly away 
from him. The result was the result to be ex- 
pected. General Johnston by a rapid march 
reached General Beauregard's lines in time to 
turn the tide of battle m favour of the South, 
and the first decisive struggle of the American 
Civil War was scored to the credit of the 

Four o'clock on the morning of April 12th, 
1 86 1, the Civil War began. At that hour a 
shell fired from a battery on shore struck Fort 
Sumter, a tiny fort built on a mudbank in the 
ver).' centre of Charleston harbour ; and this 
shot opened hostilities that were destined to last 
for years. The next day, Saturday, the news 
reached Washington that Fort Sumter, in 
possession of a United States garrison, had been 
bombarded by Southern militia acting under in- 
structions from the Governor of South Carolina. 
President Abraham Lincoln realised at once that 
the time for pacific negotiations had passed and 
the time for the employment of force had come. 
On Sunday he drew up his first proclamation 
relating to the war. It called for 75,000 militia 
to assemble under arms to '' repossess the forts, 
places, and properties which have been seized 
from the Union." In the two days which 
followed the issue of this call more than double 
the number of men asked for had volunteered 
for service. Every Free State in the Union 
responded with citizens eager to uphold the 

integrity of the Union. On the other hand, 
every Slave State insultingly refused her quota 
of the men required. 

But ready and numberless as were the volun- 
teers from the North, the resources of the States 
in the way of arms and ammunition, officers, 
and organisation, were utterl}' inadequate for 
the crisis. Although by many it had long been 
feared that the differences between the North 
and South were being accentuated to a dan- 
gerous degree, yet when the worst fears were 
realised and the actual outbreak of rebellion 
came, it took the country, as a country, com- 
pletely by surprise. More than this, it caught 
those in authority unprepared. So it was that 
between the firing on Fort Sumter and the 
first great battle — Bull Run — three months 
elapsed. Those three months were spent in 
arming the volunteers — for the United States, 
then as now, had no standing army to speak of 
— in organising commissariat and other depart- 
ments, transporting troops to various centres, 
and arranging the thousand and one details 
which, unless carefully- attended to, would render 
the bravest army helpless. 

But during the months of April, May, and 
June the absence of any organised body of 
opponents in the field allowed much telling work 
to be done by small parties of Southern soldiers. 
Unfortunately for the North, Washington, the 
capital of the Union, was to all intents and pur- 
poses within the sphere of Southern influence — 
on the one side the State of Virginia, among 
the first States to refuse troops to Abraham 
Lincoln, and on the other, Mar34and, riotous 
and to all appearances likely to cast in her lot 
with the rebel States. Federal soldiers on their 
way to guard the capital were shot and trampled 
to death in the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, 
but a few miles north Irom Washington. On the 
same day the railway bridges of lines running 



northward were destroyed, thus completeh' 
cutting Washington off from the North. To 
complete the dangerous position of the capital, 
a force of Confederate soldiers seized Harper's 
Ferry — the Harper's Ferry of John Brown 
notoriety — then a famous national arsenal, and 
there established a Southern camp. Next the im- 
portant navy yard at Gosport, after the officers 
in charge had attempted to destroy it by fire, 
was captured by Southerners ; and a number 

points fordable. A short distance south of Bui! 
Run is Manassas Junction — a railway junction 
— and here General Beauregard had his head- 

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, born in 
1818, was a native of Louisiana, and passed 
through the United States Military Academy at 
West Point. Strangely enough, one of his 
class-mates at the Academy was the Federal 
general McDowell, who at this battle of Bull 


of other important points bearing on the capital 
city falling into the hands of the Confeder- 
ates, Washington was surrounded. The battle 
of Bull Run was brought on bv the North 
with the intention of relieving the capital of 
the Union by dispersing the enemies that 
surrounded it. 

Bull Run, the stream that gave its name to 
the battle, is a sluggish, uneven waterway run- 
ning in a south-easterly direction, and at the 
point where the engagement took place some 
five-and-thirty miles from Washington. Its 
banks are steep and at some places rocky, with 
heights, densely wooded, on its western shore, 
and the stream itself deep and sullen, yet at 

Run commanded the Northern forces. Beau- 
regard had served through the Mexican campaign 
with distinction, taking part in the siege opera- 
tions at Vera Cruz, and at Mexico he was twice 
wounded. To him fell the distinction of being 
chosen to open the war for the South, and it 
was he who bombarded and finally captured 
Fort Sumter. 

General Beauregard had assembled a strong 
force of Confederates at this point with the 
evident intention of marching upon Washington, 
but before he was ready to move on the capital, 
a large armv of Northerners managed to reach 
the city, and Beauregard found his plans defeated. 
Consequently, he entrenched himself securely and 


rattlp:s of the nineteenth century 

\v?ated for the time to arrive when, sufficient 
troops furnished him, he could carry out his 
plan to capture the capital. The position for 
encampment had been carefully chosen. Along 
the western bank of Bull Run, from Manassas 
Junccion to a stone bridge some eight miles up 
stream, the Southern forces were posted, each 
ford strongly guarded, the rocky banks and the 
deep water forming a natural breastwork, and 
the dense v/oods a natural stockade. Across 
Bull Run, a few miles towards Washington, is 
the village of Centreville, and here the advance 
guards, or more pro- 
perly, a scouting 
party, was stationed 
to give news of 
any movement that 
might be made by 
the North ; and, 
central and con- 
venient, the head- 
cjuarters at Manassas 
commanded the 

Woods, stream, 
and rolling country 
made General Beau- 
regard's position a • 
peculiarly strong one. 
in fact, as General 
McDowell, the com- 
mander of the forces 
of the North, soon 
found, the posi- 
tion was well-nigh 
invulnerable. To at- 
tack the Confeder- 
ates in front, fording Bull Run, scaling the 
high bank and charging into a wood, was out 
of the question. Moreover, to strengthen 
Beauregard's hands. General J. E. Johnston, a 
soldier of energy and experience, was stationed 
at Winchester, to which town he had retreated 
from Harper's Ferry when he found himself 
confronted by General Patterson. General Pat- 
terson's orders from Washington were to retake 
Harper's Ferry from General Johnston. But the 
Southern general, fully convinced that Harper's 
Ferry w-as of no strategical importance, and 
more of a trap than anything else, fell back at 
Patterson's approach, and entrenched himself at 
Winchester. To the Federals the great danger 
lay in the risk of Johnston by a forced march 
joining Beauregard, and opposing a united 
force to McDowell. To prevent this, General 





^EVge^i,-- ^-••'' Southern 
^S- • \\ Headquarters 


Patterson's second orders were to hold Johnston 
in Winchester. Patterson had plenty of men for 
the purpose, but failed to do what was expected 
of him. When the crucial moment arrived, 
Johnston arrived with it and ruined McDowell's 
chance of victory. 

McDowell marched from Washington. It 
had originally been General Scott's intention 
to give the command of the Federal forces to 
Robert E. Lee; but that officer, destined to 
become the most famous general of the South, 
resigned his position, and journeying south, took 

charge of the raising 
of Confederate sol- 
diers. McDowell, 
however, was an 
officer in every way 
competent to 

worthily represent 
the North. 

A civil war makes 
strange opponents. 
Men hitherto the 
closest friends, found 
themselves divided, 
friends still, but fac- 
ing one another on 
the field of battle, 
and fighting to the 
death for what each 
considered the right. 
This curious division 
affected officers and 
men alike. In fact, 
a large majority of 
the officers who, at 
the outbreak of 
hostilities found themselves in charge of the 
newly-enlisted regiments, had been educated 
together at West Point, and together received 
their baptism of fire and learned what real 
war meant under the sweltering sun of Mexico. 
General Irvin McDowell, as has been told, 
stood side by side with General Beauregard 
at West Point, and side by side with him on 
the battle-fields of Mexico. For some years he 
acted as assistant-instructor in infantr}' tactics 
in the Military Academy, and when war broke 
out he was relieved of his duties in the Adjutant- 
General's Department at Washington, and placed 
in command of the Army of the Potomac, now 
on its way to Bull Run. 

When he set out from Washington he carried 
with him full instructions and the confidence of 
all concerned. Never was a battle more care- 

Korthem anvy 
Southern artftj- 



fully planned. Every move likely to take place 
had been canvassed and discussed, President 
Lincoln and General Scott giving their per- 
sonal consideration and assistance to McDowell. 
When the latter marched away at the head of 
his 30,000 men, it was thought that he had 
nothing to do but to act quickly and victory 
must rest with him. General Sherman after- 
wards said that Bull Run was one of the best 
planned and one of the worst fought battles of 
the Civil War. 

On July 1 6th McDowell issued his orders to 
march. J. G. Nicolay, vv'ho was private secretary 
to Lincoln, gives this as the organisation of 
McDowell's army : — 

" First Division, commanded by Tyler : an 
aggregate of 9,936 men, divided into four 
brigades, respectively under Ke\'es, Schenck, 
Sherman, and Richardson. 

" Second Division, commanded by Hunter : 
an aggregate of 2,648 men, divided into two 
brigades, under Porter and Burnside. 

" Third division, commanded b}' Heintzelman : 
an aggregate of 9,777 men, divided into three 
brigades, under Franklin, Wilcox, and Howard. 

" Fourth Division, commanded by Runyon : 
an aggregate of 5,752 men ; no brigade com- 

" Fifth Division, commanded by Miles : an ag- 
gregate of 6,207 men, divided into two brigades, 
under Blenker and Davies.'' 

From these figures, it will be seen that Mc- 
Dowell marched with more than 34,000 men. 
But as Runyon's division was left to guard 
communications, and as some days before the 
fight a nvimber of the volunteers were mustered 
out, their three months' time having expired, 
defections left the Federal general in command 
of something like 28,000 men to meet an equal 
or larger number of Confederates, entrenched, 
as we have seen, in a strong position, and fully 
prepared for a stubborn fight. 

When the news flashed across the length 
and breadth of the great continent that at last 
a Northern army was to attack the South, the 
question on everybody's lips was " How will the 
American fight ? " McDowell, in his army of 
30,000, had but 800 regulars — the rest were 
volunteers who had never been trained to war. 
Raw, inexperienced, undisciplined, gathered from 
the four corners of the continent : rugged bush- 
men from the backwoods of Michigan, rough 
and restless men, hunters born and bred every 
one, marching side by side with workers from 
the Pennsylvania mines and New York factory 

hands ; carters from Philadelphia and Chicago, 
farmers from Ohio and Illinois, clerks from 
Buffalo and Boston, all untried and untrained, 
having volunteered for what the most of them 
looked upon as a jaunt and picnic in the South, 
with, maybe, a little shooting by the way — all 
trudged merrily along under the sweltering July 
sun, joking and playing pranks as thev turned 
their faces to the South, and paying but .small 
heed to their oflficers' attempts to keep them in 
order. McDowell, writing of this march to 
Bull Run, tells many strange things. He says 
that the advance was rendered tedioush" slow by 
the " fooling '' of the men on the march. '* They 
stopped every moment to pick blackberries or to 
get water ; they would not keep in rank, order 
as much as you pleased ; when they came where 
water was fresh, they would pour the old water 
out of their canteens, and fill them with fresh 
water. They were not used to den^-ing them- 
selves much ; they were not used to journeys on 
foot." Before the long war was ended the 
troops became very used indeed to denying 
themselves much, and to weary journeys on 

On Thursday, July i8th, Tyler, commanding 
the first division, moved warilv on Centreville, 
only to find that the Confederates stationed 
there showed no disposition to fight, but that 
they fell rapidly back towards Bull Run. Thi^: 
being so, on towards Bull Run Tyler contmued 
his march, his orders being to carefully observe 
roads, positions, and lay of the land, but under 
no circumstances to engage in battle. He was 
to scout, to gather information for future use. 
But Tyler's enthusiasm got the better of his 
discretion, and, it is feared, caused him to forget 
his orders. He had seen the Confederates retreat 
before him from Centreville, as though fearing to 
fight, and then a temptation was thrown in his 
way in the shape of a favourable position for 
a battery from which a few shells could be 
dropped on the enemy. He planted a battery, 
and fired on a Confederate battery still on the 
Centreville side of Bull Run. The Southerners 
retired to Blackburn's Ford, and Tvler threw 
forward skirmishers against the Confederate 
skirmishers, and these getting into a hot ex- 
change, Tyler was soon forced to bring forward 
a brigade, and then a second; and almost before 
he knew what was happening he found his 
batterv and his men in a trap. Before he 
managed to bring away his battery and with- 
draw his men, he lost close upon a hundred 
killed, and his soldiers retired in confusion, the 



officers chagrined over the first serious check of 
the war. 

But disastrous as was this the first skirmish 
of Bull Run to the Northern cause, it on the 
other hand exposed to General McDowell the 
position of the Confederates, and showed to 
him the hopelessness of an attack in front. 
McDowell's first plan of battle, perfected at 
Washington, was to make a vigorous attack 
on Beauregard's front, and when this action 
raged, to cross Bull Run lower down, and 
while the Confederates 
were concerned about 
the safety of their van 
to fall unexpectedly 
upon Beauregard's right 
and turn it. A personal 
reconnaissance, made at 
the moment of Tyler's 
unfortunate experi- 

ment, proved to 
iMcDowell that this plan 
could not be carried 
out. The ground on 
Beauregard's right was 
totally unsuited to the 
job. High hills, densely 
wooded and strongly 
held. rendered the 
scheme clearly un- 
feasible. Some other 
plan must be devised. 
He rode to Centreville 
with all speed, and 
there Tyler and his 
officers reported rifle- 
pits and strong barri- 
cades, natural and arti- 
ficial, in front of every ford, the one bridge span- 
ning the stream strongly guarded and prepared 
for blowing up if need be, and not the slightest 
chance of his untrained soldiers carrying the 
position. These reports convinced McDowell 
that only a demonstration must be made in 
front, and his whole energies applied to reaching 
the southern side of Bull Run, and fighting the 
battle across fields instead of across deep water, 
Richardson's brigade was ordered forward to 
continue the menace at Blackburn's Ford, and 
the engineers were sent up stream to surve}'^ 
Bull Run for a ford. But a ford they were 
unable to find until Saturday, and the battle of 
Bull Run could not be fought before Sunday, 
July 2 1st. A fatal delay this proved to be. 
News of Tyler's engagement at Blackburn's 


Ford on the Thursda}- reached Johnston at 
Winchester, and that energetic officer, seeing 
that a general action must soon take place, 
slipped away from the aged General Patterson, 
and bv a forced march through Ashby's Gap of 
the Blue Ridge, he took train at Piedmont and 
marched most of his men into Beauregard's 
camp on Saturday evening. One of his com- 
panies, indeed, did not arrive until Sunday 
afternoon, when by falling upon the Federals' 
right, it gave the first intimation to McDowell 
that Johnston had given 
Patterson the slip. 

A close, hot night 
preceded the eventful 
da}'. A mist, such as 
is so often seen oh sul- 
try nights in America, 
hung over the valley of 
Bull Run, blurring 
ever3'thing into a grey, 
indistinguishable mass, 
notwithstanding that 
the moon shone 
brightly. Shortly after 
midnight the Northern 
arm}' bestirred itself to 
begin the work that 
lay before it. Tyler's 
orders were to get 
away early from Centre 
ville and to commence 
a hot attack on the 
stone bridge, as if it 
were McDowell's intent 
to force his way across 
the stream at that point. 
As soon as Tyler and 
his men cleared the camp at Centreville, Hunter 
and Heintzelman were to march rapidly to the 
ford which the engineers had located, cross, and 
at the topmost speed consistent with a good 
formation advance upon Beauregard's left, fall 
upon the rear of the defenders of the stone 
bridge and clear them away, and so allow Tyler 
to cross and join forces. McDowell hoped in 
this way not only to disorganise the Con- 
federate arrangements, but also to prevent any 
chance of Johnston from Winchester joining 
Beauregard. He had no idea that Johnston 
had already eflFected the juncture. The Northern 
men. new to war, turned but drowsily from 
their sleep. It was night, and, tmvised to the 
necessity of quick and silent action, the m.en de- 
layed and refused to be hurried. Consequently, 



before Tyler had got his men out of the way 
of Hunter, the hour for moving had long 
since passed. Tyler intended to attack the 
stone bridge at four in the morning. It was 
not nntil six that he fired his first gun. Hunter 
and' Heintzelman were proportionately delayed. 

Johnston's wits had been sharpened to a wonder- 
ful degree by his border experiences. He suffered 
desperate wounds at Cerro Gordo, and again 
at Chapultepec, was particularly active at Vera 
Cruz and in half-a-dozen battles in Mexico, and 
at the very outbreak of the Civil War captured 


Strange to tell, it was Johnston's intention 
to attack McDowell that very morning. This 
General Joseph Eggleston Johnston— Beaure- 
gard's superior in rank, and an oflficer of energy, 
foresight, and initiative, fifty-four years old — 
besides having served through the war with 
Mexico, had seen much fighting with the Red 
Indians in many parts of America ; and, as never 
were trickier fighters alive than the Red men. 

Harper's Ferry. In withdrawing his forces 
from Winchester to Bull Run— successfully out- 
witting General Patterson— he gave early proof 
of his skill in handling large bodies of men and 
readiness in rising to the occasion. He and 
Beauregard had planned on Saturday night to 
bring about a battle before it would be pos- 
sible for General Patterson from Harper's Ferry 
to join with McDowell, which, Johnston felt 



convinced, Patterson would hasten to do when 
he found that the Confederates had marched 
away from him. Johnston had already given 
the orders for an attack on McDowell, when 
the guns thundered out from the stone bridge. 
Instantly General Johnston countermanded the 
order to advance. As McDowell had begun the 
attack, it were better to fight the battle with all 
the advantages Bull Run gave to the South. 
He awaited developments. 

Colonel Evans held the stone bridge for the 
Confederates. He had with him, behind the 
timber abattis, a regiment and a half and four 
guns ; and when Tyler opened fire it seemed to 
him that a determined attempt would be made 
to force his position, and he prepared to hold it 
at all hazards. But after the fighting had lasted 
a short time, it occurred to Evans that the 
attack was conducted with nothing like the 
vigour he would have expected under the cir- 
cumstances, and he cast about him for an 
explanation. An e.K^planation was not long in 
coming. Scouts hurrying from the wood to 
his left told him that a large force of men had 
forded Bull Run some miles above the stone 
bridge and were marching to fall upon his rear. 
Without a moment's hesitation, and waiting for 
no orders, Evans, leaving four companies with 
two guns to hold the bridge, posted the re- 
mainder of his men in as favourable a position 
to resist attack as he could come upon in the 
limited time at his disposal. When Hunter 
emerged from the wood, at ten o'clock in the 
morning, he found that his advance had been 
made known, and that there was now no chance 
of taking the Confederates by surprise. 

First began an artillery duel. The sound of 
guns on his side of Bull Run told Johnston 
that the Federals had crossed the stream and 
had attacked his left. He hurried General Bee 
with four regiments and two companies to the 
support of Evans, already sorely pressed. Next 
Heintzelman, having now safely crossed the 
stream, came at the double-quick with a regi- 
ment to the assistance of Hunter, and joining 
forces, bore down upon the^Southern lines. The 
front of battle at once changed from Bull Run 
stream to what had been the Confederates' left. 

And now began the battle proper. The men 
who, a few hours before had refused discipline 
and disregarded orders from whatever quarter 
given, at last, within shot of the enemy, faced 
the situation seriously and fought well. With 
now the advantage of position and numbers, the 
men from the North drove the Southerners 

steadily down the hill, the Confederates fighting 
every inch of the way with that fiery courage 
that distinguished them all through the war. 
Every fence, house, and wood, every hillock, 
every stone on the wa\-, every hollow and every 
ditch, was made a standing-place by the South, 
and tenaciously held to as long as mortal could 
endure the hail of bullets and crash of cannon- 
ball. But the Federals fought splendidly, and 
carried position after position with the courage 
and dash of veterans. McDowell, coming upon 
the scene of action at this point, hurried word 
to Tyler to press his attack upon the stone 
bridge. This Tyler did not do, but instead, 
fording Bull Run a short distance above the 
bridge, came upon the rear of the defenders and 
swept them away from their stronghold. Then, 
marching towards the sound of the fighting, he 
safely joined his commander-in-chief. At noon 
McDowell had the satisfaction of knowing that 
not a hitch had taken place in his plans. The 
bridge had been cleared, the Confederates' left 
turned, and his men had driven the enemj- down 
the hill-side, over a creek, across the valley, and 
up into a wood. The morning's work was all 
the North could desire. Everything pointed to 
a Northern victory, full and complete. 

Johnston and Beauregard now found a difficult 
task before them. Their men, numbers of them 
thinking all lost, were hurrying to the rear in 
dire confusion, throwing awa}' their arms and 
accoutrements as they ran. Many companies 
were entirely disorganised, and others cut to 
pieces in the fight. But the two Southern 
generals, riding to the front, personally super- 
vised the re-formation of the lines. On top of 
the hills up which the Confederates had been 
forced was a large plateau, thickly wooded, and 
on this plateau the generals checked the re- 
treat, and swung their disorganised regiments 
into line. Early's Brigade formed the left flank, 
and faced Wilcox and Porter, Elzey's fronted 
Sherman, and Hampton lay nearest to Bull 
Run. The Confederate position for the renewal 
of the fight was clearly a strong one. Down in 
the valley lay the Federals. To reach the 
Southerners, they must charge up a hill and into 
a dense wood. This proved altogether too diffi- 
cult a task. Sherman said afterwards that had 
McDowell ignored the partially defeated and 
strongly entrenched army of the South, and, in 
stead of attempting to carry the plateau, marched 
around the hill and captured the enemy's head- 
quarters, Manassas Junction, the Southerners 
would have been defeated by the very act. But 

The first battle of bull run. 


pr jbably neither McDowell nor Sherman thought 
of this at the time. The order was to further 
rout the apparently routed, and the Federals 
dashed themselves to pieces in the attempt. 
When Johnston and Beauregard got their men 
ready, the latter took personal command, and 
Johnston — superior in rank— hastened to head- 
quarters to superintend the whole. 

The battle of the afternoon was a battle of 
hopeless confusion. No two on the Federal side 
could afterwards agree as to what had taken 
place. The want of cohesion, of discipline ; the 
rawness of the troops, 
the ignorance and lack 
of executive ability on 
the part of the officers, 
added to the disad- 
vantageous position, 
soon brought the army 
of the North into a 
state of helpless chaos'. 
The Confederates, 
strongl}' situated, lay 
quietly in the wood 
firing grimly d,own the 
hill. When the Nor- 
therners were first or- 
dered to charge, they 
did so with determina- 
tion ; but scarcely had 
they advanced a few 
hundred feet than they 
came under an appall- 
ing fire, volley after 
volley sweeping down 
the steep incline. Time 
after time the attempt 
to scale the height was 

made ; and the right did at one time gain a 
footing, but to no purpose. It was a hopeless 
task from the first. 

In the woods on top of the plateau lay Thomas 
Jonathan Jackson and his men. Jackson was of 
English descent, and having been left an orphan 
at seven, he grew to manhood on a rough farm 
in Western Virginia, joined the army, fought 
in Mexico, and after teaching school was with 
Johnston at Harper's Ferry. Jackson's brigade 
was the first to get into position and check the 
advance of the Federals, the panic-stricken 
Southerners rallving upon his line. During the 
crisis, General Bee, rall3-ing his men, shouted : 
" See ; there is Jackson, standing like a stone 
wall. Rally on the Virginians." Immediately 
afterwards General Bee wa= shot dead ; but the 

nickname " Stonewall " stuck to Jackson, and 
became probably the most familiar nickname of 
the war. 

To the Confederate left stood Henry House. 
Built on a knoll, it commanded the whole field 
of action, and here McDowell deemed it im- 
portant to plant a battery. To this ground two 
batteries were sent, and Ellsworth's Zouaves 
ordered to support them. In making their way 
to the position the officers of the Zouaves mis- 
took an Alabama regiment for a Northern one, 
and did not find out their mistake until they 
had exposed their men 
to a fire that wiped the 
regiment out of exist- 
ence. Another and 
another regiment was 
sent to the support of 
the battery, and the 
battle raged its wildest 
around the knoll at 
Henry House. Keyes, 
on the right, after a 
successful charge was 
driven back, Sherman 
in the centre charged 
again and again up the 
hill, each charge only 
resulting in a heavier 
loss, and the batteries 
at Henry House were 
taken and retaken time 
and time again. As the 
afternoon grew older, 
confusion gradually 

settled on the Northern 
lines. Companies beaten 
back from the brow 
of the hill got mixed with companies charg- 
ing up the hill ; men lost their officers and 
officers their companies, until after a few hours' 
fighting all was confusion, and the Northern 
arm}', victorious as it seemed a little earlier in 
the day, degenerated into a mob of struggling 
men, into which the South continued to pour 
a merciless fire. 

Just when the army had been reduced to this 
pitiable state of confusion, a body of close upon 
two thousand fresh men came hurrying across 
the fields to take part in the conflict. They 
were the last arrivals from Winchester, Johnston's 
men, who hearing the roar of battle, stopped 
their train at the nearest point to the scene of 
action, and running as fast as legs could carry 
poured a volley into the Federals' right. This 




proved to be the last straw. Raising the cry : 
*' Here's Johnston from the valley ! " the army of 
the North broke and fled panic-stricken across 
Bull Run, along the turnpike to Centreville 
and on to Washington, to let the President and 
the people of the North know that an appalling 

while the Southern loss was 387 killed and 1,582 

Public opinion held General McDowell re- 
sponsible for the crushing defeat, and as a con- 
sequence he was superseded in his command by 
General McClellan ; and although a capable and 

"the army of the north broke and fled panic-stricken." 

di-saster had befallen the Federal cause. General 
McDowell tried his utmost to stay the flight, but 
to no purpose. It was every man for himself, 
and never was rout more complete. 

When the sum of battle came to be reckoned, 
it was found that the North had 481 men killed, 
1,011 men wounded, and 1,461 taken prisoners ; 

honourable officer, he played no great part in 
the subsequent events of the war. The firs' 
battle of Bull Run brought the seriousness ol 
the situation vividly to the minds of the people 
of the North, and showed how fatally the 
position had been underestimated by everj-one 
from President to peasant. 


IN the early days of July, 1877, the soldiers 
of the Tzar were jubilant. So early as 
April Russian army-corps after armv-corps 
had come tramping across the Pruth into 
Roumania, and in May the Danubian Princi- 
palities swarmed with sturdy .Russian soldiers 
along the left bank of the great river, from 
Galatz on the east to Kalafat on the west. They 
gazed eagerlv across the brown water of the 
Danube to the precipitous Bulgarian bank on the 
further side, but had to wait impatienth' until the 
falling of the river gave them the opportunity 
for which they craved so ardently. At length, 
however, thev had effected the crossing of the 
Danube from Simnitza to Sistova and from 
Braila to Matchin, and the whole Russian armv 
was now on Turkish soil. Bv the middle of 
the month Gourko was beyond the Balkans on 
that adventurous raid of his which spread panic 
from Hankioj to Constantinople. " Hey for 
Adrianople ! '' was the hilarious and confident 
shout, as army-corps after army-corps started 
on the enterprise which seemed so ridiculously 
easy. Princes and staff-officers betted with each 
other in hundreds of dingy paper-roubles as to 
the day on which they would dine in Stamboul. 
The route which the main advance over the 
Balkans was to take was by Tirnova and the 
Shipka Pass, and thence on Adrianople through 
the rose-gardens of Kazanlik and down the 
beautiful valley of the Tundja. Two corps had 
been sent to the left to protect the advance from 
the Turks holding the Bulgarian quadrilateral. 
Old Kriidener, the chief of the qth Corps, had 
been sent off to the right, with the air}- order to 
storm the fortress of Nicopolis and then to march 
to the Balkans without delay, leaving as he passed 
detachments in Plevna and Loftcha for the 
protection of the right wing, and to cross the 
great range into Roumelia by the Trajan Pass. 
" Grandfather" Kriidener, grimmest and toughest 

of warriors, began handsomely. He i-o smothered 
with shell-fire the obsolete and crumbling fortress 
of Nicopolis, that after two days" endurance of the 
Russian cannonade the garrison capitulated. It 
was quick work, and there were not wanting 
hints that he had backed his shell-fire by a bribe 
to the pasha in command. Anyhow, Kriidener 
scored, when on the 17th there surrendered to 
him 7,000 men, including the pasha — the cost of 
the triumph 1,300 Russians killed and wounded, 
and the trophies of it, among other things, six 
flags and no guns. 


Ne.Kt day the Grand Duke Nicolas tele- 
graphed to Kriidener to " occupy Plevna as 
promptly as possible." That smart old warrior 
had anticipated this order by pushing out to- 
wards Plevna, which is about twenty miles 
south-east of Nicopolis, an infantrv regiment and 
the brigade of Caucasian Cossacks, and on the 
same day moved out General Schilder-Schuldner 
with an infantrv brigade. In all this there was 
no apprehension in regard to Plevna ; the order 
and movements just mentioned were simply in 
the line of fulfilment of the original instructions 
that Kriidener should hasten to cross the 
Balkans by the Trajan Pass. 

But no Russian troops were to enter Plevna 
for six long months to come. 0.-man Pasha, 
whose fame was soon to ring through Europe, 
was on the march down the Bulgarian bank of 
the Danube from Widdin, with an army of 
40,000 of the best troops in Turkev. Learning 
that the Russians had already crossed the Danube, 
he had turned inland, reached Plevna on the 
17th, and, recognising the strategical and de- 
fensive characteristics of the place and its imme- 
diate surroundings, settled himself there, and 
promptly set about throwing up a line of 



Second battle of PLEVNA 

JULY 30 1877. 

entrenchments along the northern ridge from 
the village of Bukova eastward to the site of 
the subsequently famous Grivitza redoubt. 

In utter ignorance that Plevna was already 
in Osman's occupation, Schilder-Schuldner ad- 
vanced in its direction without the commonest 
precautions. He made no reconnaissances, for 
he had no cavalry with his main body ; and the 
result of this stupid neglect was that, as he was 
unconcernedly crossing the Verbitza heights, he 
was suddenly halted by Turkish artillery fire 
from the Grivitza ridge. He had already sent 
the Kostroma regi- 
ment eastward to 
Zgalevitza, and the 
Caucasian brigade to 
Tutchenitza, actually 
south-east of Plevna. 
The disposal of his 
little force by Schil- 
der-Schuldner for the 
night of the 19th 
July was a lively in- 
stance of an almost 
comic inability how 
to make war. His 
troops — 6,500 men 
all told, with forty 
six guns — were dis- 
tributed over a dis- 
tance of seventeen 
miles. Osman Pasha 
must have smiled as 
he posted his 40,000 
men and ninety 
guns in the shelter- 
trenches and battery-emplacements with which 
his northern and eastern front was already 
garnished. Schilder-Schuldner scouted the sug- 
gestion that he should wait for reinforcements. 
No ! He had his orders to attack on the morn- 
ing of the 20th ; he had always obeyed orders, 
and he meant to do so now ! 

Accordingly, at da^-break of that morning, he 
moved forward from Riben, three batteries in the 
centre, a regiment on either flank. After an 
hour's cannonade, the troops moved forward 
and assailed the Grivitza heights. The western 
extremity of the trenches was carried after a 
desperate struggle, in which both sides freely 
used the bayonet. The Vologda regiment, with 
part of the Archangel regiment on its left, not- 
withstanding a withering fire from the Turkish 
shelter-trenches, was able to continue the 
advance ; and, after repelling a succession of 




attacks made by Turkish battalions, the W- 
ogdas and Archangels fought their way to the 
northern outskirts of Plevna, where, at seven 
o'clock, they were brought to a halt by a very 
hot fire from behind the hedges and ditches on 
the edge of the town. They nevertheless hung 
on here for some hours, fighting hard and losing 
heavily, until about eleven o'clock they received 
the order to withdraw. 

The Kostroma regiment, coming from Zgale- 
vitza, advanced from the south-east on the 
Grivitza position, where the subsequently famous 

redoubt had as yet 
scarcely been traced, 
and after a short 
cannonade delivered 
its assault in columns 
of companies. Over 
and over again the 
successive tiers of 
trenches were taken 
and retaken at the 
point of the bayonet 
and with cruel 
slaughter. A mo- 
ment's hesitation in 
front of the last and 
strongest line of de- 
fence ended in the 
breaking up of the 
regiment into small 
columns of attack. 
The lines of those 
columns were strewn 
with dead and 
wounded, and all 
the superior officers went down. There was, 
therefore, no one who could order a retreat, 
and the troops charged forward under the com- 
mand of a simple lieutenant, and finally carried 
the last Turkish entrenchment. They then 
chased the Turks right up to the edge of the 
town, where the latter found prepared positions 
in the gardens and houses of the eastern suburb, 
whence a cross-fire of artillery caused terrible 
losses in the Kostroma ranks. These losses, the 
e.xhaustion of ammunition, and the lack of reserves 
compelled its reluctant retreat, which was fol- 
lowed by heavy swarms of Turkish skirmishers 
and by volley after volley of artillery. 

The Russian troops had been engaged to the last 
man for hours, and were worn out with their exer- 
tions. A general retreat was, therefore, wisely 
ordered at about i>oon ; but in effecting it heaw 
losses were sustained b}' the sallies made by the 


Turks, who, however, did not pursue beyond 
their trenches. The Russians left on the field 
all their dead and most of their wounded, as well 
as two guns, twent\- ammunition waggons, and 
all the baggage of the Kostroma regiment. Their 
losses were close on 3,000 men ; nearly two- 
thirds of the officers and over one-third of the 
men were hors de combat. There are no data 
from which to estimate the Turkish loss. The 
Russians reckoned it about 4,000 ; the Swiss 
writer Le Compte calls it "about 200" — a wide 
discrepancy indeed. The Russian army was 
furious against Schilder- 
Schuldner, and there was 
a great clamour for a court- 
martial ; but he was not 
even called upon to resign, 
and he blundered cheer- 
fully along to the very 
end of the campaign. 
There is no need to point 
out his faults and errors. 
Without having learned 
anything about the 
strength or position of the 
enemy, and with no re- 
serves, he sent his troops 
blindly to the assault in 
two lines which had no 
communication with each 
other, and against an 
enemy more than four 
times their own strength. 
He had the doubtful and 
dangerous virtue of act- 
ing on his orders to their 

very letter. True, that is one way of avoiding 


The Grand Duke Nicolas, commander-in- 
chief of the Russian armies in Bulgaria, was an 
obstinate and narrow-minded man. He would 
not believe that the Turks were in force in 
Plevna, notwithstanding the crushing defeat 
which Schilder-Schuldner had received on July 
20th. He would not take the trouble to come 
down from Tirnova to the Plevna front, con- 
tenting himself with ordering Kriidener to make 
a renewed attack on Plevna with his own corps 
(the 9th), strengthened by the addition of an 
infantry and a cavalry brigade from the nth 
corps, under the command of Lieutenant -General 
Prince Schahofskoy, and of the 30th division 
(4th corps), which had just crossed the Danube. 



Krudener had reconnoitred the Plevna position 
with great care ; and on account of its natural 
strength and the force of the enemy, which he 
estimated at not less than 50,000 men, he did 
not at all fancy the task laid upon him. He had 
even ventured to remonstrate against the risk 
of failure which he apprehended ; but he re- 
ceived a peremptory and even angry order from 
the Grand Duke to obey orders without delay, 
and not bother the headquarters with any more 
querulous croaking. Kriidener now became 
furious ; he had the lull belief that with 30,000 
men in the open field 
against 50,000 in a strong 
fortified position, he was 
bound to be beaten disas- 
trously, a belief which the 
event justified — but he 
was resolved to put in his 
last man, and as regarded 
himself he would rather 
prefer that he did not 
come out of the business 
alive. Throughout the 
Russian camp there was 
little of that excitement 
of anticipation which had 
been manifest on the even- 
ing before the crossing of 
the Danube. The Russian 
officer, subject of a despot 
though he is, has a habit 
of speaking his mind ; and 
on the eve of this battle 
the ears of the Grand Duke 
Nicolas would have tingled 
had he heard the comments made upon him. 
Meanwhile the Turks were working with the 
utmost diligence upon their fortifications, con- 
fident that they would be again attacked in 
the course of a few days. By the 30th, the 
da\' of the battle, the Grivitza redoubt and four 
redoubts of the " middle group " east of Plevna 
were in condition for defence. 

Krudener was in chief command of the assail- 
ing forces. His orders for the 30th were that 
the troops of his own corps, forming the right 
wing, should advance to the attack of the 
Grivitza redoubt and the adjacent positions on 
the northern heights, the 31st division to lead, 
the 5th to follow in support ; and that the 
left wing under Schahofskoy, consisting of 
two infantry brigades, should occupy the 
Radischevo ridge to the south-east of Plevna, 
and assail the redoubts of the ''middle group" 

J 04 


on the lower swell, due east of the town. 
Kriidener's whole army was a little over 30,000 
men, consisting of 36 battalions, 30 squadrons, 
and 176 guns; of which 24 battalions, no 
guns, and 10 squadrons belonged to his own 
(the right) wing, 11 battalions, 54 guns, and 
8 squadrons constituted Schahofskoy's (the left) 
wing, and i battalion, 12 guns, and 12 squadrons 
was Skobeleff's detached command on the ex- 
treme left. The main fault of the dispositions 

valley running north and south, in the centre of 
which lay the town of Plevna, its white mina- 
rets, on which the sun was shining, visible above 
the encircling trees. On the long ridge forming 
the northern section of the horse-shoe were 
discernible the tents of the Turkish camps, and 
on its nearer shoulder lay the Grivit^a redoubt^ 
of which later the world was to hear so much. 
Now it did not seem very formidable — merely a 
rough parallelogram — all of defence visible being 


' at'--- ' *" ^ " 


was that Kriidener and Schahofskoy were prac- 
tically independent of each other, so that the two 
attacks were far apart and with no connecting 
link ; but the gravest evil was the weakness 
of the assailing force. The key of the Turkish 
position was the Grivitza redoubt. 

Schahofskoy's advance from Poradim began 
at 6 a.m. As the infantry went swinging past 
their general, they cheered vigorously, and 
seemed ready for anything. After a two-hours' 
march the head of the column reached the 
upland in front of Pelischat, whence the whole 
Plevna region lay before it. The headquarter 
stood temporarily halted near the apex of a great 
horse-shoe, closed in at the heel by a wooded 

a bank of earth with a ditch at its outer foot, a 
few guns here and there, and a good many Turks 
inside the work. To his left front, as Schahofskoy 
looked toward Plevna, he saw the long ridge of 
Radischevo, forming the southern edge of the 
horse-shoe, and the valley behind it into which 
his advance troops were already moving. 

Some of the gay young officers of Schahof- 
skoy's staff would have it that slow old Kriidener 
had not yet got out of bed. But the old 
warrior was wide awake and Avell to the front. 
About 9 a.m. the Turkish guns opened fire on 
him from the Grivitza redoubt. Answering 
smoke rose to the eastward, and the cannon 
thunder came booming down on the wind. 




Kriidener's guns were in action, playing fiercely 
on the Grivitza redoubt. The artillery duel be- 
tween the Turks and Kriidener lasted until after 
two p.m. Then the" Russian, infantry were sent 
forward to the attack. The brave Penza regiment 
led the way. Its first battalion carried the first 
line of trenches, a thousand yards north east of 
the redoubt ; the second line was carried by the 
second battalion, and the two battalions drove the 
Turks at the bayonet point across the intervening 
ravine, when three companies made a rush for 
the redoubt and actually reached the parapet, 
where, however, all perished. In a few minutes, 
so fierce was the Turkish fire, the three Penza 
battalions lost thirty officers and i,oo6 men — 
half their officers and rnore than one-third of the 
men. Officers of the two regiments in reserve, 
looking thro'ugh their telescopes, swore that they 
saw the blood of the Penzas flowing in streams 
down the outer face of the parapet of the 
Turkish redoubt. The Kosloff regiment followed 
the Penzas up to the second line, and a few men 
of it did reach the redoubt, but only to meet 
their death. Then the supports, consisting of 
the 17th and i8th regiments, made their effort, 
only to fail ; the bitter and steadfast rifle from 
the redoubt struck them down by ranks. The 
left column, the Tamboff" and Galitz regiments, 
tried to storm the southern face of the redoubt, 
but only filled with their dead bodies the out- 
lying trenches. At sundown the stubborn 
Kriidener gave orders for a final general assault. 
It was made with such desperation that a general 
officer was killed within a few paces of the re- 
doubt ; but the attack utterly failed with terrible 
slaughter. Then Kriidener gave the order to 
retire ; but so maddened were the troops that 
the fighting lasted all night, and the withdrawal 
was not completed till after daybreak of the 
31st. In fine, the attack of the right wing 
had been an utter and bloody failure. 

On the left wing, about ten a.m., Schahofskoy 
sent twenty-eight guns up on to the crest of the 
Radischevo ridge, which promptly opened fire 
on the Turkish positions of the " middle group," 
whence a fire was as promptly returned. The 
infantrv moved forward into the valley in rear 
and into the glades about the village of Radis- 
chevo, about which were falling many Turkish 
shells which had flown over the ridge crowned 
by the Russian artillery. It was strange to 
witness the peasant villagers standing in scared 
groups in front of their cottages, shuddering as 
the shells crashed into the place, while the child- 
ren were pla3-ing about the dust heaps without 

any sense of their danger. A couple of corre- 
spondents, leaving their horses in the village, 
went up to the storm-swept crest where the 
Russian batteries were in action, and lay down 
between two guns to watch the scene. From 
their point of vantage they looked right down 
into the Turkish positions. Several guns in an 
earthwork (Redoubt No. i) about a hamlet or 
farmhouse, which seemed the most advanced of 
the Turkish works on the central elevation, were 
vigorously replying to the Russian fire. On its 
right were three more redoubts reaching back- 
ward to the edge of the valley in which the 
roofs and spires of Plevna sparkled in the sun- 
shine from out the cincture of verdure. The 
place seemed so near that a short ride might 
bring one there to a sorely needed breakfast ; 
but thousands of men were to die and many 
months were to elapse before Plevna should 
be accessible to others than Turks. As the 
watchers lay by the guns men were falling fast 
around them ; for the elevated position was 
greatly exposed and the Turkish practice was 
most uncomfortably true. 

Two o'clock came. Schahofskoy rode up the 
slope from the village to see for himself from 
the crest how things were going. As he reached 
the sky line the Turks marked the mounted 
group, and a volley of shell-fire was directed 
upon it. Schahofsko}' promptly rolled out of 
the saddle and crept forward to where the two 
correspondents were squatting. His eyes were 
blazing and his face was flushed, as he swore 
most vigorously in the colloquial Russian of the 
common soldier. He looked at his watch ; it 
was a few minutes past two. Kriidener seemed, 
after all these long hours, to be making no 
headway. Schahofskoy in his injpatience threw 
his orders to the wind and determined to act 
independently. He turned to his Chief of Staff 
and shouted, ''Bring up the 125th and 126th 
regiments at once ! Quick ! " These were his 
own two regiments which had accompanied him 
from the foot of the Balkans. General TchekofiF, 
the brio-ade commander, came up the slope at 
a canter and told the Prince the two regiments 
were following close. They came up with swift 
swinging stride and deployed just before reaching 
the crest, breaking to pass through the intervals 
between the guns. The General had risen, and 
was standing against a tree saluting his soldiers as 
they streamed past him. His guns recommenced 
firing as soon as the infantrymen were descending 
the further slope, and continued their fire while 
the regiments were crossing the intervening 



hollow to the assault of the Turkish positions. 
The Turkish shells crashed through the ranks as 
the regiments pressed forward ; men were already 
down in numbers, but the long, undulating line 
pushed through the undergrowth of the descent 
and then tramped steadily over the stubble- 
fields below. No skirmishing line was thrown 
out in advance. The fighting line retained its 
formation for a time till, what with eagerness and 
what with men falling, it broke into a ragged 
spray of humanity and surged on swiftly, but 
with no close cohesion. It was a rush of vehe- 
ment fighting-men on which the spectators looked 
down with eyes intent — a helter-skelter of men 
impelled by a burning ardour to get forward and 
come to close quarters with the enemy calml}- 
firing upon them from behind the shelter of his 
earthworks. The Turkish position was neared ; 
and now men held their breath. The crackle 
of the musketry fire rose in a sharp continuous 
peal. The clamour of the cheering of the 
fighting-men came back on the wind, making 
the blood tingle with excitement. The wounded 
were beginning to withdraw, limping and groan- 
ing ; the dead and the more severely wounded 
lay where they fell among the stubbles and 
amidst the maize. The living wave of fighting- 
men was pouring over them ever on and on. 
Suddenly the disconnected men were drawing 
together, the officers signalling for the concen- 
tration by the waving of their swords. Then 
there followed a headlong rush, led by a brave 
colonel. The Turks in the shelter trench held 
their ground, firing steadily and with terrible 
effect into the advancing assailants. The colonel 
staggered a few paces and then fell — he was a 
dead man. 

His men, bayonets at the charge, rushed to 
avenge their gallant dead leader. They were 
over the shelter trench and over the parapet, 
and then down in among the Turks like an 
avalanche. The first redoubt was thus taken ; 
but the Turks had got away ten guns ; leaving 
only two in Russian hands. The captured 
redoubt was No. i, which had fallen to the 126th 
regiment, the right regiment of Schahofskoy's 
first line. His left regiment, the 125th, was ad- 
vancing simultaneously on Redoubt No. 8, about 
midway between No. i and Plevna, but No. 8 
was much the stronger, an isolated mamelon with 
batteries on the rearward slope. Schahofskoy 
sent forward to No. i two batteries and two 
battalions, and a third battalion to strengthen 
his left flank, and then he ordered both his front 
line regiments to converge on redoubt No. 8 

and to carry it, no matter at what cost. One 
could see through the glass Turkish officers on 
horseback standing behind its parapet and 
watching the oncoming Russian forces. Pre- 
sently two rode away at a gallop and immedi- 
ately returned with a swarm of men on foot, 
who clapped tackle on the guns in the redoubt 
and withdrew them all before the Russians took 
it. The capture at the last was curiously sudden. 
All of a moment along the lip of the Turkish 
parapet there was a final spurt of white smoke, 
through which were visible dimly swarms of 
dark-coated men scrambling over the ditch and 
up the outer slope of the work. On the crest of 
the parapet itself there was a short but sharp 
struggle. Then through the telescope was seen 
a crowd of men in lighter blue in apparent full 
flight across the great stretch of vineyard behind 
the redoubt. 

The Russians, then, at about half-past five of 
this bloody afternoon, had possessed themselves 
of two of the Turkish redoubts, but their tenure 
was very precarious. The Turks had not fled 
far from the second redoubt, about the northern 
and western faces of which they hung obstinately, 
while their cannon from further rearward dropped 
shell after shell into it with extraordinary precision. 
Schahofskoy sent forward eight guns to an inter- 
mediate knoll, to cover the troops in the redoubt 
and cope with the Turkish artillery fire which 
was punishing them so severely ; but about six 
o'clock the Turks pressed forward a strong body 
of infantry to its recapture. The defence was 
stubborn, but the Moslems were not to be denied ; 
and in spite of the stubborn Russian resistance, 
they reoccupied the redoubt half an hour later. 
In the course of the original advance on it, part 
of the troops of Schahofskoy's left had penetrated 
by a ravine up to near the south-eastern verge of 
Plevna. From the first, this body was very hard 
pressed by fresh Turkish reserves issuing ft-om 
the town. The Russians, bent on entering the 
place, charged again and again till they could 
charge no more for sheer fatigue ; and then 
the stubborn, gallant fellows stood leaderless — for 
nearly all the officers were down — sternly wait- 
ing death there for want of leaders to march 
them back. To their help Schahofskoy sent in 
succession the two battalions which were his last 
reserve ; but all that these could do was to main- 
tain a front with cruel losses, until the darkness 
would permit of a retirement to the Radischevo 
ridge. The ammunition had failed, for the carts 
had been left far in the rear ; and all hope died 
out of the most sanguine as the sun sank in lurid 



glory behind the blood-stained and smoke- 
mantled field. 

Then the Turks struck without stint. They 
had the upper hand now, and were clearly deter- 
mined to show that they knew how to make the 
most of it. Through the dusk they advanced in 
swarms into their original first positions, and 
recaptured their two guns which the Russians 
had taken in their first assault, but which they 

The Russian defeat was complete. The re- 
mains of the army came sullenly back, companies 
that had gone down hundreds strong returning 
by tens and twenties. For three hours there 
had been a steady current of wounded men up 
from out of the battle to the reverse slope of the 
Radischevo ridge, to which Schahofskoy still 
held on grimlv. All round, the air was heavy 
with the moaning of the wounded who had cast 


had tound no opportunity to withdraw. Turkish 
shells now again began to whistle and yell over 
the Radischevo ridge, and to crash into the village 
behind, by this time crammed with wounded 
men. The streams of wounded were incessant. 
The badly-wounded lay where they fell, and 
were butchered ruthlessly by the Turkish ir- 
regulars, who swarmed over the battle-field and 
slaughtered indiscriminately. The moon rose on 
their bloodthirst}- devilr}^ ; and in the hot, still 
night-air one could hear — and shuddered in the 
hearing — the shrieks of pain, the futile entreaties 
for mercy, and the yells of cruel, fanatical 

themselves down by the fountain at the foot of 
the slope, craving with a pitiful longing for a few 
drops of the scanty water. In this awful hour 
Schahofskoy 's attitude was admirable : now that 
the day was lost beyond remedy, he was cool and 
collected. To protect his wounded, and rally 
what remained of his force, he was determined 
to hold the ridge to the last eitremity. He 
ordered his bugle to sound the "Assembly." 
Thev gathered to the sound, singly and by twos 
and threes, many bleeding from flesh-w^ounds, 
yet willing still to fight on. But it appeared 
scarcely a company that came together ; it 
seemed as if the rest of the army was quite 



dispersed. Schahofckoy was loth to fall back, for 
he still hoped that belated troops would come 
back out of the valley of the shadow of death 
down below him ; but he was disappointed. 
Meanwhile, as the ambulance work was going on 
apace, and the wounded withdrawn into the com- 
parative safety of the village in the valley behind, 
the Turks continued to pour on the ridge a 
heavy fire of shells and bullets. At length, near 
midnight, Schahofskoy and his staff quitted the 
front, now protected, after a fashion, by a cordon 
of cavalry. As the forlorn cortege rode slowly 
away in the moonlight, an aide-de-camp remarked 
in an undertone to his neighbour : " We are 
following a general who has lost his army going 
in search of an army which has lost its general, 
who now, to make the day's loss complete, has 
lost his way." It was a miserable business. 

But it was in a measure retrieved by the con- 
duct of SkobelefF. His orders were to prevent 
any reinforcement from Loftcha from entering 
Plevna, and in general to cover the extreme left 
flank of Schahofskoy. For this wide range of 
duty he had at his disposal one infantry battalion, 
twelve squadrons of Caucasian Cossacks, and 
twelve 4-pounder horse-guns. His first undertak- 
ing was to make a reconnaissance on Plevna from 
the south-west, till he looked down on the place 
from a height within three hundred yards of it. 
When Schahofskoy began his cannonade on the 
redoubts, Skobeleff opened fire on the town, and 
drew upon himself a large body of Osman's forces. 
When attacked in strength he, of course, had to 
withdraw to his main force at Krishin ; but he 

discovered that, from a hill two miles south of 
Plevna the Turks could enfilade Schahofskoy's 
line, and take his advance in reverse. To hinder 
the enemy from occupying this point he resolved 
to attack energetically ; and he was able, by dint 
of skill and dexterity, to keep up an active fight 
throughout the day and on until after nightfall, 
and also to remove all his wounded. After dark, 
he made good his retreat to Krishin, and re- 
assembled there what remained of his little 
command. He had not spared it, for fifty 
per cent, was hors de combat. But he had 
gained his object in keeping the Turks away 
from the Green Hill, from which, had they 
occupied it, they would have cut Schahofskoy's 
force to pieces. 

The Russian losses were 169 oflficers and 7,136 
men, out of a total of 30,000 engaged. Of this 
number, 2,400 were killed and left on the field. 
One of Schahofskoy's regiments (the 126th) 
had 725 killed and over 1,200 wounded— a total 
loss of about 75 per cent, of its strength. Over 
their respective responsibility, Kriidener and 
Schahofskoy quarrelled bitterly. Schahofsko)< 
complained that Kriidener had not supported 
him. Kriidener retorted that Schahofskoy had 
disobeyed his orders in assaulting without per- 
mission. But the real responsibility for the 
defeat rested on the shoulders of the Grand 
Duke Nicolas, who had given peremptory orders 
from a distance to attack a position of which he 
knew nothing, and in the teeth of a remonstrance 
on the part of a commanding-oflicer who had 
carefully studied the subject. 


a, Pkvnr. ; b, Plevna Redoubt ; c, Giivitza ; d, G.ivit:a Redoubt ; e, Radischevo Ridge ; f, Balkan Mountains in distance. 



III III" Will ■■■ m il I i»iiiiii.»iiii — iiiin-nT rn: 





HEY were men of men, and their 
fathers were men before them," were 
the words of old Umjan, the chief 
induna of the Imbezu Impi — Loben- 
gula's Royal Regiment — as he described the 
gallant stand of that handful of men under 
Major Allan Wilson which was cut to pieces by 
the Matabele, hard by the Shangani river, on 
December 4th, 1893. Umjan, a full-blooded Zulu 
warrior, who, as a stripling, had taken part in 
the conquest of Matabeleland with Moselekatse's 
raiding horde, led the force that slaughtered 
Major Wilson's party, and the terms of keen 
admiration which he employed when speaking of 
those brave men but represented the feeling of his 
whole people. That day's fight produced a deep 
impression throughout the country. Till then 
the Matabele were inclined to despise the white 
men, and considered them weak and timorous. 
True, the Matabele had been vanquished ; but 
they argued that they had not been routed in 
fair fight, but by the aid of witchcraft — by the 
deadly fire of those invincible Maxims, which 
spirits had manufactured for the white men ; 
they boasted that without Maxims the white 
men would never have had the heart to face the 
valorous amajakas of Lobengula. But they 
were undeceived by the brave doings of Decem- 
ber 4th, v;hich cannot rightly be called a day 
of disaster — valuable though were the lives we 
lost — when it is remembered how glorious was 
that gallant stand, how far-reaching were its 
results. That engagement brought the war to 
a sudden conclusion, and obviated further blood- 
shed. It inspired the Matabele with a profound 
respect and regard for their conquerors, which our 
previous victories alone would not have given 
them. Without that sacrifice it would have been 
long before we had brought about a true peace. 
O ur vanquished foes would have regarded any 
clemency on our part as a sign of cowardice ; 
the young amajakas would have bragged at 

their periodic beer-drinkings, and organised 
risings against the white men. But having suf- 
fered so severely from that stubborn resistance to 
the death of a handful of white men unprovided 
with Maxims, they realised the hopelessness 
of again trying conclusions with the Chartered 
Company's forces ; they were terrified at their 
own victory, and, as I myself experienced, it was 
possible, immediately after the Shangani fight, 
for a white man to travel alone and unarmed 
with safety throughout the greater portion oi 
Matabeleland. The death of Wilson and his 
men brought a complete peace to the land, so 
they did not fall in vain. The story of the 
Shangani will be told in many a kraal ; and the 
prestige these Britons won for their countrymen 
will go far to check the ardour of turbulent 
tribes and to preserve the peace of Africa. 

Not one man of Wilson's party survived to 
tell the tale of that hopeless but fierce stand of 
the thirtv-four against thousands ; but various 
native rumours reached us. I was at Inyati 
when Dawson, some three months after the fight, 
returned from his mission to the Shangani : he 
gave me the full details he had gathered from 
Matabele who had taken part in the fight; and 
later on old Umjan himself came in, and told us 
all that had taken place, extolling the bravery 
of the Avhite men with a simple but most im- 
pressive eloquence. It is his narrative I purpose 
to repeat here. 

It will be well first to recall the events that led 
up to the despatch of Wilson's patrol. Loben- 
gula's impis had been broken in two decisive 
battles ; Buluwayo had been occupied by the 
Company's troops ; a considerable proportion of 
the disheartened Matabele, having been offered 
by Dr. Jameson easy terms of peace, and, realis- 
ing that they would be treated with generosity, 
were quite ready to " come in," but dared not 
so long as the King was still holding out with 
a Jarge force of his followers. It was therefore 



essential that the King should be captured or be 
induced to submit, in order to effect the pacifica- 
tion of the country and avoid further bloodshed. 
Lobengula, in reply to Dr. Jameson's messages 
inviting him to surrender and guaranteeing his 
safety, had at first promised to " come in," but 
had subsequently either altered his intention, or 
had been constrained by his warlike following. 
Spies brought in information that he was re- 
treating to the north with a considerable force 
consisting of the remnants of his broken impis, 
with the object either of organising a stand 
further on, or of crossing the Zambesi to establish 
another military despotism beyond the great 

Dr. Jameson accordingly sent a force, under 
Major P. W. Forbes, in pursuit of the King ; 
but this column failed to come up with the 
fugitive, for, having exhausted its supplies, it 
was compelled to retire on Inyati, a mission 
station forty miles to the north-east of Buluwayo. 
It was afterwards ascertained that Lobengula 
was only three miles away when his pursuers 
turned back. 

Reinforcements with food and ammunition 
were then sent to Shiloh, another mission station 
between Buluwayo and Inyati, and from this 
place Major Forbes set out afresh with 300 men, 
on November 25th, to overtake the King. There 
had been very heavy rains, and the roadless 
wilderness through which they had to go was 
little better than a morass, almost impassable 
for waggons. They had made but little progress 
by November 29th, and Major Forbes, finding 
that his horses and oxen were becoming ex- 
hausted and realising that the King would never 
be caught unless the column travelled faster, sent 
all his waggons and a considerable portion of his 
force back to Inyati, only retaining 160 men, 
mounted on the best of the horses, of whom 
sixty were troopers of the Bechuanaland Border 
Police, the remainder volunteers of the Salisbury, 
Victoria, and Tuli columns. He took with him 
two Maxims, and horses carrying ten days' 
rations for each man. This little force then 
pushed on rapidly, despite the heavy rains and 
the fever that prevails at that season in the 
lowlands. They were on a hot scent, and knew 
that the King could not be far ahead of them. 
Each day they came to his recently abandoned 
camps, and found frequent signs of his retreat. 
They thrust their way through the thick bush 
and across the swamps, following the spoor of 
the King's three waggons, occasionally capturing 
stragglers from his force or some of his cattle. 

The Matabele hovered round, watching them all 
the while ; but no attack was made upon them 
though the scouts had narrow escapes. 

At last, on the 3rd of December, they came to 
a valley near the banks of the Shangani and 
found a schcrm (enclosure of bushes), which had 
evidently been vacated but a very short time 
before, for the fires were still burning within it. 
A chiefs son, who was captured at this place, 
confessed that the King had slept there on the 
previous night, and was not far off. This was 
good news, and all hoped that they would be 
rewarded for the privations they had undergone ' 
by the speedy capture of Lobengula. But it was 
now five o'clock in the evening, and darkness 
would soon make it impossible for the column 
to proceed ; so Major Forbes, having selected a 
strong position in which to laagar for the night, 
decided to send Major Allan Wilson with a party 
of about twenty men, to reconnoitre. Among 
those who volunteered to go on this patrol were 
several officers and some of the leading settlers 
in Mashonaland : it consisted, indeed, of the 
very pick of frontier manhood. Major Wilson's 
instructions were to follow the King's spoor and 
ascertain his whereabouts, and to return to the 
laagar before dark. It was Major Forbes's in- 
tention to remain where he was until dawn, and 
then to make a final dash for the King. Supplies 
were now running short, and unless Lobengula 
was captured on the morrow the chase would 
have to be abandoned, and the column would 
have to return to Inyati. Shortly after the 
patrol had set out, a native prisoner gave Major 
Forbes reliable information to the effect that an 
impi of about 3,000 Matabele was then hemming 
in his force, so extra precautions were taken to 
guard the laagar against surprise during the 
night, which was an exceedingly dark one. 

Early in the night, two of Major Wilson's 
party rode in with a message for the commanding 
officer. They reported that the patrol had 
crossed the Shangani, and that Major Wilson, 
having ascertained that the King, accompanied 
by but few of his followers, was onlv a short dis- 
tance ahead of him, had thought it best not to 
return that night, but would bivouac where he 
was, close on the King's heels. 

Before midnight three more men came in 
from Major Wilson. They corroborated the 
report that the King had sent his impi to sur- 
round the column and prevent its crossing the 
river. They said that the patrol had found a 
native to guide them, had followed the King's 
spoor for som.e distance, and passed several 



scherms full of women, children, and cattle. 
Then they fell in with some of the King's men, 
who offered no resistance, possibly imagining 
that this was the advance guard of the whole 
column, and that the dreaded Maxims were close 
behind. An officer, who was acting as inter- 
preter, shouted to the natives that the white 
men would not injure them, but wanted to talk 
to the King. Just as it was getting dark, they 
approached some scherms, in one of which, the 

at once despatched Captain Borrow to Major 
Wilson with a reinforcement of twenty men, 
while he explained in a letter that he would 
cross the river at daylight with the column to 
join him. 

At dawn, the column under Major Forbes 
prepared to advance, and, while doing so, hea^y 
firing was heard across the river, showing that 
Wilson's party was already in action with the 
enemy. Major Forbes followed the King's spoor 



(The waggon is the one in which Messrs Dawson and Riley returned from the Shangani with the King's wives as described.) 

guide told them, was the King himself. A 
number of armed Matabele came out with 
threatening action ready to protect the waggons, 
and were surrounding the patrol. A heavy 
rain-storm now rendered the obscurity intense, 
so Major Wilson was compelled to retire, and 
took up his position for the night in the bush 
half a mile away. 

Major Forbes, hemmed in as he was by the 
■enemy's impi, would have been guilty of extreme 
rashness had he ventured to take his whole force 
and his Maxims across a difficult river and 
through dense bush on a dark night, when the 
Matabele could have easily rushed the column 
with their assegais and annihilated it ; but he 

towards the Shangani drift, and no sooner had 
the column reached the high river bank than a 
heavy fire was opened on it by the enemy con- 
cealed in the surrounding bush. The troopers 
were quickly formed up, the Maxims were got 
into action, and a smart skirmish ensued, in the 
course of which the white force lost sixteen 
horses, and had five men wounded. At last the 
enemy's fire was silenced, and Major Forbes 
was able to retire along the river bank and take 
up a better position where bush afforded cover. 

In every way luck seemed to be against the 
\vhite men on this fatal day ; for it was now 
observed that the Shangani, which had been 
easily fordable on the previous day, had, as is 



the way of African rivers, suddenl}' swollen by 
the morning to a broad, deep, and rushing flood, 
across which it would be impossible to take 
a body of armed men, to say nothing of the 
Maxims. Heavy storms had been raging on the 
distant hills, and all the rivers were up, so that 
the main column and the patrol were cut off 
from one another. 

But while the action I have described was 
taking place, three men had succeeded with 
some difficulty in swimming the Shangani. 
These were three troopers from Wilson's party. 
They rode up to the column with haggard faces 
that plainly told of disaster, and one of them 
— Burnham, the American scout — came up to 

At dawn. Major Wilson decided to make a 
rush on the King's waggons. The whole force 
galloped up to within a few yards of the scherm, 
and then halted, while the interpreter shouted 
out to the King to come out and speak with 
the white men. The reply was a heavy fire 
from the King's schcrm and from the bush on 
either side. The fire was returned by our men ; 
but, finding that the enemy were surrounding 
him. Major Wilson retreated for about half a 
mile, and took up a position on one of the 
gigantic ant-heaps which are frequent in this 
part of Africa. Here the action was carried on 
for some time, the Matabele fire being very wild 
and -producing little effect ; but as the enemy 

" THtY FOUGHT ON GRIMLY " (/. Il8). 

Major Forbes, and said with breathless emotion : 
'' I think I may say that we are the sole 
survivors of that fight." 

Then he told his story. Captain Borrow and 
the reinforcement had reached Major Wilson's 
camp on the previous night, without falling in 
with the enemy. 

were again surrounding him, under cover of 
the dense bush, Major Wilson ordered his men 
to remount, and the party commenced their 
retreat towards the river, retracing their way 
along the spoor of the King's waggons. 

Major Wilson then asked Burnham tc make 
an attempt to reach the column and inform 



Major Forbes of the position of affairs. Burn- 
ham took with him two of the best-mounted 
troopers, and the three galloped off. They had 
not ridden far before they came upon a large 
body of Matabele, which was evidently marching 
to cut oflf Major Wilson's retreat. The three 
troopers rode for their lives through the storm 
of bullets that was directed upon them, and 
contrived to escape uninjured to the river-bank. 
As they rode, they heard a heavy firing behind 
them, which told them that the body of the 
enemy the3- had just passed had attacked 
Wilson's party. Burnham said that the patrol 
must have been com- 
pletely' surrounded by 
several thousands C't 
Matabele warriors, 
and that it was im- 
possible that a single 
trooper could escape ; 
for the patrol, as he 
explained, could only 
retreat slowly, if at all 
— it could not cut 
its way through the 
Matebele : several of 
the horses had been 
killed, so that some 
horses had to carr}' 
two men ; most of 
the horses Avere worn 
out, and there would 
be wounded men also 
to carry off. True, 
the best - mounted 
men might have gal- 
loped through and 
saved their lives ; but 

a sativc gin pent is an expedient not resorted to 
in African warfare by white men, and still less so 
by men of the stamp of Wilson and his com- 
panions : the} would certainly have stood by 
each other to the end. 

On reaching the n'ver at the point they had 
crossed it on the previous day, Burnham and 
his two companions found it in flood, and had 
to follow the bank for a considerable distance 
before they came to a place where they could 
swim across. 

There was now nothing left to Major Forbes 
but to save the remnant of his force, and retreat 
on Inj-ati and Buluwayo. The river was still 
up, and might remain so for days. It was abso- 
lutely impossible to transport Maxims across 
it, and to have sent men over the river without 


Maxims would ha\e been to condemn them to 
certain slaughter. Major Forbes remained where 
he was for one da}', in the hope of hearing some 
news of Wilson's party ; but none came. He 
then commenced his retreat along the left banl< 
of the Shangani river, having first despatched 
two troopers to find their way to Buluwayo 
and ask Dr. Jameson to send reinforcements, 
food, and ammunition to meet him. 

The hazardous retreat to Inyati occupied 
eleven days. The column suffered great priva- 
tions, and was perpetually harassed by the 
Matabele, who hovered round it, creeping along 

through the bush on 
either side of the line 
of march, watching for 
an opportunity to 
ush the white men, 
but having a due re- 
spect for the Maxims. 
They occasionally 
opened a hot fire on 
the troopers and their 
horses, they attempted 
surprises, and were 
not repulsed without 
further loss to the 
already weakened 
column. In these 
skirmishes, the enemy 
succeeded in shoot- 
ing a number of the 
horses, while many 
other horses died, or 
became so feeble that 
they had to be aban- 
doned on the way : in 
all, about 130 horses 
were lost. The wounded men rode, but the 
troopers who were not ill and Major Forbes, 
himself were now without mounts, and had 
to march over such rough ground that their 
boots soon wore out, and many of the men were 
walking in their wallets. At last there were 
no horses left sufficiently strong to carry the 
Maxims, so the gun-carriages were abandoned, 
and the Maxims were carried by men on foot. 
All baggage also was thrown away, the men 
retaining but a blanket each. 

The men were worn out by the hard marching 
and constant anxiety, but displayed an admirable 
spirit. All supplies had run out, and they lived 
on the tough flesh of their exhausted horses. 
On one occasion they captured some of Loben- 
gula's cattle ; but the enemy then fell on the 

^ A MaJorU'ilson's attack 
^ on the King's schertn- 
\i0f BP/t'cf 7tJtere Majorll'iliot, 
p tooi his stand [fight 

'% C Site 0/ Ma joy Forbes' 
%. O Mft relief cotumit here. 
t .^Krnats 



column, and, during the progress of a smart 
skirmish, recovered the cattle and drove them 
all off again. 

At last, when they were within a day's march 
of Inyati, the troopers met the relief column that 
had been sent from Buluwayo with a good supply 
of food : they had now done with their privations 
and alarms, and reached Buluwayo without 
further difficulties. 

At the end of January another patrol of i8o 
troopers of the Bechuanaland Border Police, 
under Colonel Gould Adams, with two Maxims, 
set out for the scene of the Shangani disaster, 
with the object of recovering the remains of Major 
Wilson's party and the abandoned gun-carriages. 
It was also the aim of this expedition to follow 
up the Matabele amajakas — who were still 
iiolding out in force on the Shangani, and were 
preventing others from coming in — and to bring 
the King to terms if possible. This patrol, which 
I accompanied, did not get farther than Inyati. 
\''ery heavy rains made it impossible to push 
beyond that point for some weeks, and then, as 
the rainy season had set in in earnest, and the 
men, bivouacking night after night on the muddy 
ground, would have suffered much from the 
lowland fever, the Imperial authorities counter- 
manded the patrol. 

Dr. Jameson was still very anxious to enter 
into communication with Lobengula, whose 
whereabouts was unknown. There could be 
no secured peace until he had come to terms. 
Several natives whom the Administrator had sent 
with messages to the King failed to reach him ; 
they came back 'and confessed that when they 
had fallen in with raiding parties of young 
warriors from the King's force they had been 
afraid to go further, lest they should be put to 
death as spies of the white men. 

As native messengers, not unnaturally, shirked 
the duty, it became apparent that Lobengula 
could only be approached by some white man 
who happened to be 2i persona grata to the King, 
and who was willing to undertake the perilous 
adventure. Mr. James Dawson — a Scotchman, 
who had for some years been residing in Bulu- 
wayo as a trader, respected by both white and 
black, a man possessed of the tact so necessary 
to one negotiating wnth suspicious savages, and 
whose relations with the King had always been 
most friendly — now pluckily volunteered to go 
to the King himself and deliver Dr. Jameson's 
message. He accordingly set out with a Scotch 
cart on February the 4th, 1894, accompanied by 
one other brave white man, Mr. Patrick Riley, 

also an old resident in Matabeleland and a friend 
of Lobengula's. 

We waited anxiously until March the 7th, on 
which day Messrs. Dawson and Riley, having 
successfully accomplished the objects of their 
hazardous mission, returned to Inyati. As it 
came in there were signs to show that the party 
had had a very rough journey. The Scotch cart, 
dilapidated, its tent-cover torn by the thorny 
bush, was slowly drawn towards the camp by 
weary oxen ; while the natives, who had set out 
from here thirty-two days before, active, well- 
nourished, and cheerful, now painfully crawled 
along with a miserable air, lean, haggard, their 
wasted limbs aching with the fever of the 
pestilential region they had traversed. 

Mr. Dawson told me the story of his journey. 
The heaviest rains of the season fell while he and 
his companions were away, and their progress 
\X2A very slow. Four days after their departure 
they came to an uninhabited countr}-, where 
they travelled with difficulty among rocky kopjtes 
or across deep morasses, often having to cut a 
way through the dense bush. Here wild beasts 
abounded, and each night numbers of lions 
roared around their camp. On reaching the 
banks of the Shangani they fell in with small 
parties of Matabele, who had decided to " come 
in,'' and were on their way to Buluwayo. From 
these Dawson first learnt that the King was dead, 
and that his message would, therefore, have to be 
delivered to the chief indunas. On Februaiy 13th 
the mission arrived at the Shangani drift, and 
there found a number of natives suffering terribly 
from disease and lack of proper food : th^- had 
no grain of any sort, and had been subsisting on 
flesh alone. They were all anxious to " come in," 
but had been afraid to do so, thinking that the 
white men would kill them in revenge for the 
cutting off" of Major Wilson's party. They 
were delighted to see Dawson and to hear his 
reassuring promises. 

On the further side of the river was stationed 
a large force of Matabele, the amajakas of 
the Royal Regiment and others. These young 
warriors, suspecting that the two white men were 
the scouts of some patrol that was advancing to 
attack them, at first made hostile demonstrations ; 
and it was, possibly, fortunate for Dawson and 
Riley that the Shangani was full at the time and 
quite impassable. The river did not subside until 
February 22nd ; but in the meanwhile Dawson 
and the indunas of the regiments opposite com- 
municated with each other by shouting across 
the swollen stream. Dawson thus succeeded 



in delivering his message of peace, allaj'ed the 
apprehension of the Matabele, and estabhshed 
friendly relations with them. On the 22nd some 
men swam across 
the river to Daw- 
son, and he was 
enabled to more '■'^/ 

of the mission was thus effected, and the rapid 
pacification of the country was insured. 

Dawson found at this deadly spot not c^nly 

**'<. ■■■■' ■-. 


fully explain to them the treatment they would 
receive if they " came in." 

On February' 23rd the two white men crossed 
the river. This district must be excessively pes- 
tilential, for out of the thousands of Matabele 
whom Dawson found on the further bank of the 
Shangani, there was scarcel}' a man who was not 
down with fever, while numbers had perished. 
Their condition was most pitiable : many looked 
more like skeletons than men. Dawson found 
that even the young amajakas, weakened and 
dispirited by the sufferings they had undergone, 
had no heart for further fighting, but were 
anxious to "come in." Dawson succeeded in 
convincing them that the white men, far from 
wishing to kill those who had fought in the 
war, respected these men most, and would treat 
them honourably. Umjan, who conducted the ne- 
gotiations, was rejoiced to hear this, and said he 
knew the white indunas meant the Matabele well, 
for had they not sent to them as envoj's the old 
friends of their people, Dawson and Riley, whom 
they trusted, and not strangers ? So all agreed 
to go in and lay down their arms. The object 

Umjan, the old commander-in-chief, 
but several others of the leading in- 
dunas. He learnt that a number of 
people of note had died of disease 
or had committed suicide, and on 
Lobengula's death several of his 
wives had hung themselves. Umjan 
told Dawson the story of the King's 
decease and obsequies. Lobengula was suffering 
from fever and smallpox, but his heart was broken 
because the amajakas of his own — his favourite 
regiment, the Imbezu — had deserted him after the 
last fight : he contemplated suicide. Buzungwan, 
the head dance-doctor, or master of the ceremonies 
at the great festival of the first fruits, was the only 
man of note with the dj'ing King. Umjan was sent 
for, but arrived too late to see Lobengula alive. 
" It is now time for your work — to bury the 
King,'' said Buzungwan to him, pointing to the 
corpse. Umjan performed this honourable duty 
according to the traditional custom. He carried 
the body to a hollow under a precipice, and 
placed it on a stone so that it sat upright with 
the face turned towards the rising sun. He put 
upon it the richest royal raiment and ornaments, 
and placed the King's war assegais in the dead 
hands. After piercing the body with an assegai, 
Umjan built a chamber of stones around it, with 
one great flat stone at the top, and then went 
away leaving Lobengula, the Calf of the Great 
Elephant, sitting in state, just as he was wont to 
do when alive. 



All the people now prepared to leave the deadly 
banks of the Shangani and " come in." Numbers 
were too weak to travel, so Dawson promised 
that food and medicine should be sent to them 
without delay. Some of the indunas accompanied 
him back to Invati to represent the others. I 
was present when they were brought before Dr. 
Jameson. The Administrator explained to them 
that there would be no more king, and the white 
men would govern the country, but the indunas 
who behaved well would still rule their people, 

occupied before the war. He assured them that 
the white men bore no grudge against those of 
the Matabele who had taken up arms against 
them and killed their soldiers, \\niite men knew 
they must lose some of their number when they 
went to war. The man he respected most in the 
whole country was old Umjan, who had fought 
hardest against us, and had stood by his King 
to the very end. Dr. Jameson then asked the 
indunas if they had anything to say. They 
replied that, having no other road to go, they had 


being answerable to the white magistrates ; and 
there must be no more killing or witchcraft. He 
promised them full protection, and told them to 
return to the cultivation of the lands they had 

come to lay down their heads before the great 
white chief, who could kill them or not. They 
were pleased with the treatment they had 
received at the hands of the white man. " And 



now we can sleep," they concluded by saying — 
the usual Zulu method of expressing relief from 
anxiety. Often when men came in to surrender 
at Buluwayo, and Dr. Jameson asked them what 
they wanted, they would repl)' : '' We have 
come to learn it we may sleep.'' 

When Dawson and Rile}- were on the Shan- 
gani, the natives took them to the spot where 
Wilson's party had fallen — about four miles from 
the river-bank. They found the bones of the 
thirty-four troopers lying close together where 
the men had stood at bay and died fighting. 
Dawson buried these remains temporarily under 

(Prom a sketch from life by Mr. A. E, Maund.') 

a mopani tree, on which he cut the simple inscrip- 
tion : " To brave men." He described the trees 
and bushes all round this spot as being cut about 
by what must have been a tremendous fire. It 
is estimated that the thirt3--four white men killed 
ten times their number of the enemy, at least, on 
that day before they were slaughtered. 

The fine old warrior, Umjan, whom I met at 
Buluwa\'o when he " came in " to surrender to 
the Administrator, gave a graphic and clear 
account of all that occurred. Umjan said that 
the King was not with his waggons when Major 
Wilson's party attacked them : he had fled the 
da}' before with several of his indunas. Umjan 
had been sent by Lobengula on December 2nd 
with a strong impi to fall on Forbes' column in 
the dense bush. Finding the column encamped 
in the open near the river, Umjan had to alter 
his plans. He left a portion of his force to lie in 
ambush on either side of the drift, and returned 
with the remainder to guard the King. 

On the night of the 3rd, Umjan returned to 
the King's waggons and learnt that the King had 
gone, and he was informed that Major Wilson's 
patrol was encamped not far off in the bush. 

Umjan decided to do nothing that night, and 
await dawn. Wilson's party was thus caught in 
a trap : behind it was the force ambushed at the 
drift, which had allowed the white men to ride 
by ; in front was the force with Umjan. 

In the morning Major Wilson attacked the 
waggons, and was repulsed in the manner de- 
scribed by Burnham. Umjan said that the 
white men retreated towards the river for about 
three miles, fighting gallantly all the while ; and 
it was then that their further retreat was cut off 
by the other Matabele force which had crossed 
the river in the night, and which, hearing the 
heavy firing, had left the drift and was hurrying 
along the King's spoor to take part in the fight. 

Umjan and those with him saw Burnham and 
the other two troopers ride off just before the 
white men were completely hemmed in by over- 
whelming numbers. The Matabele did not 
understand that these three men had been 
despatched to obtain reinforcements, and mar- 
velled that those others of the white men who 
had horses did not also " take refuge in flight 
instead of fighting by the side of their comrades 
until all were dead together." We have only the 
Matabele account of what took place subsequent 
to the riding off of Burnham. Umjan said 
that the white men made several desperate at- 
tempts to break through the encircling swarms oi 
Matabele, who were continually being reinforced 
by fresh arrivals. 

At last, having lost several horses and having 
some men wounded, the troopers determined to 
sell their lives dearly. The}' formed into a close 
ring and, under cover ot their fallen horses, 
opened a deadly fire on the Matabele whenever 
a rush was attempted. Umjan spoke with keen 
enthusiasm of the grand standing at bay of his 
white foemen. As they repelled each fresh attack 
with rifles and revolvers, and added to the heaps 
of Matabele dead that surrounded them, the 
troopers, said Umjan, " cheered and jeered at us 
as cowards, challenging us to come nearer." The 
Matabele perpetually raised their guttural wix- 
cry ^ ^'' Shzee! shzee ! '''' while, from under cover 
of the bush, they poured a constant fire mto the 
thick of the white men. There was no crying 
for quarter on the part of the latter. They 
fought on grimly : when a man was wounded he 
laid down and continued to fire, or, if he was 
unable to fight, handed up his ammunition to his 
companions. '' The white men are indeed the 
right men to meet in battle, even when they 
have no Maxims ! " exclaimed old Umjan with 
flashing eves. 



And so they fought on, until at last all were 
either killed or wounded so -severely that they 
could not fight longer, with the exception of 
one big man " who would not die.'' " We could 
not kill him, often though we wounded him,'' 
declared Umjan, " and we thought that he must 
have been a wizard." This man, who was never 
identified, stood on the top of a large ant-heap, 
which was in the centre of an open space. He 
had collected round him the revolvers and 
the rifles, and ammunition of several of his 
dead comrades, and he killed a number of his 
assailants. The Matabele could not muster 
courage to approach him, tor, according to their 
description, " he picked up weapon after weapon 
and fired rapidly, and with wonderful accuracy 
in all directions — in front of him, to the side of 
him, and over his shoulders — whenever Mata- 
bele ventured to come out of the bush into the 
open." After killing many of them, he was at 
last shot in the hip, and had to fight sitting 
down. He sold his life dearly, and it was not till 
he sank exhausted from loss of blood from many 
wounds, that the Matabele made a rush on him, 
and stabbed him to death with their assegais. 
Even then it was not all over, for some of the 
dying troopers summoned sufficient strength to 
fire their revolvers at the approaching Matabele; 
and by this time the indomitable resistance 
they had met with, and the extent of their 
losses, had so awed and scared the enemy that 
they fled precipitately into the bush from that 
narrow circle of dead and dying Englishmen, 
and did not come back until some hours later 
when they found all was quiet : not one of their 
brave foemen was left alive. 

Umjan, himself a gallant leader, far superior 
to his degenerate Zulu warriors, who often re- 
fused to follow him, thoroughly appreciated the 
dogged valour displayed by Wilson and his men. 
These were men after his own heart. Speaking 
to some of his amajakas in Dawson's hearing, 
he said : " We were fighting then with men of 
men, whose fathers were men of men before 
them. They fought and died together : those 
who could have saved themselves chose to re- 
main and die with their brothers. Do not 

forget this. You did not think that white men 
were as brave as Matabele ; but now you must 
see that they are men indeed, to whom you are 
as but timid girls.'' 

Our men, it appears, did not exhaust their 
ammunition before they were slaughtered, as 
was at first reported, and Dawson found car- 
tridges in the pouches and in the revolvers of 
the dead troopers ; so it is more than probable 
that Wilson and his comrades gave a very 
good account of themselves, and sold their 
lives dearly as they fell, man after man, to the 
very last ; and it is certain that they did not die 
before they had killed some four hundred of 
the enemy. 

Dawson made a second journey to the banks 
of the Shangani, to carry supplies of food and 
medicine to the suffering Matabele, and brought 
back with him several leading natives and the 
surviving queens of Lobengula. The appearance 
of these people fully bore out his description 
of their condition. Though he had selected 
the strongest and most fit to travel, they were 
frightfully emaciated, some being reduced by 
famine and fever to the nearest approach to 
skeletons possible for a living creature : despite 
all his care, twenty-five people perished on the 
journey. On thi« occasion, Dawson disinterred 
the remains of Wilson's part}-, and brought 
back with him the thirt5'-four skulls, most of 
which, we observed, had been pierced by bullets. 
These skulls are to be buried in consecrated 
ground near those grand remains of an unknown 
civilisation and religion — the ruins of the 
Zimbabwe temple. Here Mr. Cecil Rhodes 
proposes to raise a granite monolith to the 
memor\- of these brave men. I have seen the 
site, than which none more suitable could have 
been selected — a bare rocky mound rising above 
a wilderness of dense tropical bush and flower- 
ing trees, half-way between the pagan temple 
on the plain and the rugged Zimbabwe kopjie^ 
crowned with massive fortifications of immense 
antiquity. A monument of simple dignity, 
standing amid these mysterious ruins, and sur- 
rounded by this wild and lonely scenery, wil: 
produce a most impressive effect. 


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DELHI, the ancieut and magnificent 
capital of the Grand Moguls, or 
Mahomedan rulers of India, became 
the focus of the great and ever- 
memorable- mutiny which made our Indian 
Empire run with blood during the year 1857. 
Of this mutiny among the native Indian troops, 
or sepoys, in British pay, some ugly signs had 
already been observed early in the year; but it 
was only on the loth of May that military revolt 
openly raised its terrible head at Meerut — a 
place about forty miles north-east of Delhi. 
There were several causes of this rebellion, but 
perhaps the chief one was the fact that the 
native troops had been forced to use greased 
cartridges, which their religious principles or 
prejudices forbade them even to touch, as being 
encased with the fat of so unclean an animal as 
a pig, Out of respect for their scruples on this 
head, new rules had been made allowing the 
sepoys to tear, instead of bite, off the ends of 
the cartridges ; but even this concession did 
not satisf\- them, and, for positively refusing to 
touch the cartridges that were offered them, 
about a squadron of native cavalry at Meerut 
were sentenced to ten years' penal servitude. 
In presence of the -whole garrison, they Avere 
stripped of their uniforms, fitted with fetters, 
and marched off to prison, yelling out curses at 
their colonel as they went. Next evening the 
storm of evil and long-pent-up passions broke 
loose. The sepoy regiments at Meerut rose in 
open revolt, rushed to the gaol and released 
their comrades, murdered some of their English 
officers and their wives, plundered and slew like 
demons, and, leaving the place running with blood 
and wrapt in flames, fled to Delhi, the great 
stronghold of the Mahomedan d5masty and 
faith. So sudden and sanguinary had been this 
outburst against the British rule and name that 
the English commanders — all but a few whose 

energetic counsel was rejected — lost their heads 
completely for the time being, as if paralysed 
with astonishment and unbelief; and b}- the 
time they had recovered their senses the fugitive 
mutineers were safe within the walls of Delhi. 

Standing on the right, or western, bank of the 
Jumna, which is here about a quarter of a mile 
broad, Delhi had a circumference of about seven 
miles and a population of nearly 200,000. In 
its palmiest days the city was said to have 
covered an area of twenty square miles. At the 
time of the mutiny it formed a magnificent 
collection of temples, mosques, and palaces. Of 
the mosques the chief was that of the Jummr 
Musjid, or great Mahomedan cathedral — a truly 
noble structure, towering above the rest of the 
cil}'. Again, there was the mosque of Roushen- 
ud-Dowlah, where, in 1739, Nadir Shar sat and 
witnessed the massacre of the unfortunate in- 
habitants. But that was nothing to what the 
present king of Delhi, Bahadoor Shah, was now 
about to look upon. Under the English, this 
descendant of Timour the Tartar had become 
the mere shadow of a king, and the thought 
that he was no longer a potentate, but a mere 
puppet in the hands of the real masters of India, 
had inflamed his heart against them with a 
passion which only needed a spark of fire to set 
it in a blaze. That spark was supplied b}- the 
sudden advent of the niutineers from Meerut on 
the nth of May 

Crossing the Jumna by the bridge of boats 
the}' swarmed into the courtyard of the palace, 
where they were eagerly joined by the ro3'al 
guards. Captain Douglas, the commander of 
these guards, rushed down from the presence of 
the King to quiet the turmoil, but his presence 
only made it worse. He was joined by Mr. 
Eraser, the Commissioner, and Mr. Hutchinson, 
the Collector ; but the surging, roaring crowd 
closed in upon them with murder in their eyes 



The Englishmen attempted flight, Captain 
Douglas flinging himself into the moat ; but he 
was badly hurt by his fall, while Mr. Hutchinson 
was also wounded. As these two were being 
carried to the apartments over the palace Gate- 
way, Mr. Eraser made one last effort to appease 
the multitude ; but while in the act of speaking 
he was cut down and hewn to pieces. The 

the points of their bayonets, and committing 
the most inhuman barbarities on their mother* 
of which the very description would still brina 
burning tears to the eyes. An English tele° 
graph clerk heard the awful uproar, but even 
when the flood of murder came surging towards 
him he went on with his work— click, click, 
click— flashing his warning message up to the 


whole ferocious crew then rushed to the upper 
rooms, where Mr. Jennings, the Chaplain, his 
daughter, and a young lady friend were tending 
the wounds of Captain Douglas and Mr. 
Hutchinson. Bursting open the doors, the dark, 
demoniacal throng poured in and hacked them to 
pieces. Then the sepoys, maddened with blood, 
streamed forth from the palace, and, accom- 
panied by the scum of the city — the very vilest 
of mankind — flew to the European quarters, 
where they slew, burned, ravished, and raged 
without me'rcy — tossing English babies up on 

authorities at the various military stations in 
the Punjab. " The sepoys," he wired, '' have 
come in from Meerut and are burning every- 
thing. Mr. Todd is dead, and, we hear, several 
Europeans. We must shut up." The last click 
died away. The red-handed rebels burst in, and 
the staunch, cool-headed signaller died at hii 
post, as most of his English countrvmen did, 
and all were prepared to do, on that awful day 
of blood. 

Among these Englishmen in Delhi none 
acted with greater heroism than Lieutenant 

■t '^ ^ 


Willoughby — a " shy, refined, boyish-looking 
subaltern," scarce capable of saying " Bo ! " to 
a goose in piping times of peace, though his 
friends wlII knew what his spirit could be 
in the hour of danger. On this terrible day 
Willoughbv chanced to be in charge of the 
magazine, containing vast stores of ammuni- 
tion which he knew would be coveted by the 
mutineers. At once taking in the situation, 
he sent for help to Brigadier Graves, who 
was in command of the native garrison outside 
the citv in its cantonments ; but no help came, 
and for the simple reason that at this very 
time the English officers of this garrison were 
being massacred by their mutinous men. Wil- 
loughby could not trust his own native troops, 
but he had eight of his own countrymen, whom 
he knew to be as staunch as steel — Lieutenants 
Forre>t and Raynor, Conductors {i.e. warrant- 
officers of the Ordnance Department) Buckley, 
Shaw, and Scully ; Sub-Conductor Crow ; and 
Sergeants Edwards and Stewart. Barricading 
the outer gates of the magazine, Willoughby 
placed guns there, double-charged with grape, 
which made the mutineers pause : but not for 

Encouraged by the reports of their scouts, 
who had been sent out to see whether there was 
yet any prospect of English succour arriving 
from Meerut, they at last sent to demand the 
surrender of the magazine, " in the name of the 
King of Delhi," who had meanwhile assumed 
the title of Sovereign of all Hindostan. To this 
insulting request only one answer was possible — 
none at all. Then the red-handed hordes of 
murderers came on against the magazine with 
ladders to scale the walls, and were mown down 
by the grape-shot of Willoughbv's guns. But 
the gaps made in their ranks were swiftly filled 
by fresh men swarming up the ladders, and 
within fifty yards they poured upon the " noble 
nine " Englishmen below a deadlv shower of 
bullets. Two of them fell mortally wounded, 
but Forrest and Buckley, heedless of the leaden 
hail, continued to work their guns with a 
coolness as if on parade. At last they were 
struck — one in the hand and another in the 
head, and the guns could now be worked no 
longer. A loud shout of triumph rose from the 
mutineers, but this was shouting before they 
were out of the wood. 

Willoughby saw that his case was now indeed 
desperate. He had kept the rebels at bay for 
about three hours, during which time he had 
repeatedly run to the bastion to strain his eyes 

and see whether he could discern the coming of 
any English help from Meerut. But neither 
from Meerut nor from the cantonments outside 
the city walls did any help make its appearance ; 
and now the rebels were bursting in upon him 
in a roaring, bloodthirsty crowd. His country- 
men at iMeerut had not been true to him ; but 
he would be true to himself. Foreseeing the 
possibility of his defences being forced, he had 
taken other measures of precaution. A train 
had been laid from the powder store to a tree 
standing in the magazine yard, and by this tree 
stood Conductor Scully, who had heroically 
volunteered to fire the train at a given signal 
from his chief. For this signal the time had 
come when the guns of Willoughby could no 
longer be worked. Then he quietly gave the 
order to Buckley, who raised his hat to Scully, 
who in turn fired the train ; and in a moment 
more the city of Delhi was shaken to its foun- 
dations as wdth the shock of an earthquake, 
accompanied by a terriffic roar of thunder and 
the flames and smoke of a volcano. 

Scully fell an immortal martyr to the cause of 
his countrv, but with himself he blew into the 
air more than a thousand rebels, and, above all 
things, baulked the mutineers of their inestimable 
prey — the magazine. Four of the " noble nine," 
wounded, shattered, and bruised, made good 
their retreat from the ruins ; but the heroic 
Willoughby only survived to be murdered on 
his way to Meerut. Never has the Victoria 
Cross been given for a more heroic deed than 
the defence and blowing up of the Delhi 
magazine ; and it was well said that the 300 
Spartans, who in the summer morning sat 
" combing their long hair for death " in the 
passes of Thermopylae, have not earned a 
loftier estimate for themselves than these nine 
modern Englishmen. 

While the fight for the magazine had been 
going on, a tragedy of equal horror was taking 
place at the Cashmere Gate, and in the canton- 
ments be3'ond the city walls. At both these 
places the sepoys had shot down or bayoneted 
their English officers, and when the magazine 
blew up, the natives of the 38th Regiment, 
throwing off" the mask, suddenly fired a volle}^ 
at their officers, three of whom fell dead. " Two 
of the survivors," writes an historian of that 
awful time, " rushed up to the bastion of the 
main guard and jumped down thirty feet into 
the ditch below. The rest were following, when, 
hearing the shrieks of the women in the guard- 
room, they ran back under a storm *of bullets to 



rescue them. The women were shuddering as 
they looked down the steep bank, and asking 
each other whether it would be possible to 
descend, when a round shot whizzing over their 
heads warned them not to hesitate. Fastening 
their belts and handkerchiefs together, the 
officers let themselves down, and then, having 
helped the women to follow, carried them with 
desperate struggles, up the opposite side," whence 
the fugitives could reach the jungle. At the 
cantonments the fate of the English — women, 
children, and a few surviving officers — was some- 
thing similar, and then began that piteous flight, 
with all its frightful sufferings, which hardened 
the hearts of the British to inflict a terrible, 

Meanwhile, in the city of Delhi itself rebellion 
was triumphant and merciless. All the Europeans 
that could be found were massacred and tortured 
in the most barbarous manner. Some fifty oi 
them at the first sound of alarm had barricaded 
themselves — men and women — in one of the 
strongest houses of the English quarter. But 
they were ill-armed and without supplies, and 
what could they do against the furious rabble oi 
ruffians who besieged them ? They were dragged 
to the palace and lodged in a dungeon without 
windows, and with only one door. After five 
days these were all taken out into a courtyard 
and butchered in cold blood, their mangled 
bodies being piled on carts and thrown into the 
Jumna. That was on the i6th May — five days 
after the arrival of the mutineers from Meerut ; 
and now Delhi had been cleansed of its last 
Christian. Murder and rapine, arson and out- 
rages which cannot even be named, had done 
their fell work, and the English Raj^ or rule, 
had been trampled underfoot no less at Delhi 
than at Cawnpore, Lucknow, and other centres 
of revolt. The climax of the rebellion had 
now been reached, but there still had to 
come the inevitable anti-climax. The blood 
of hundreds of English men, and women, and 
children, wantonly slaughtered, was crying 
aloud for vengeance, and a terrible vengeance 
it would be. 

The mill-wheels of God, it has been said, 
grind slowly if surely ; but rarely had they turned 
round so slowly as they now seemed to be 
doing after the terrible news from Delhi reached 
Meerut and the chief places in the Punjab. 
The mutiny had broken out so suddenly that 
the authorities were at first quite unable to cope 
with it, and precious time had to elapse before 
the army of retribution could be got to take the 

road. But meanwhile a cheerful and plucky 
spirit prevailed both amongst officers and 
men, notwithstanding all their fatigues, priva- 
tion, and sickness ; and if there was one man 
more than another, as his brother afterwards 
wrote of him, who helped to inspire and keep up 
this spirit — if there was one more than another 
who merited that which a Roman would have 
considered the highest praise, that he never 
despaired of his country — it was Lieutenant 
Hodson, of the ist Bengal Fusiliers, formerly 
of the Guides. "I can but rejoice," he wrote, 
" that I am employed again ; certain, too, as I 
am, that the star of Old England will shine 
brighter in the end, and we shall hold a prouder 
position than ever. The crisis is an awful one, 
but with God and our Saxon arms to aid us, 
I have firm faith in the result." 

" Hodson is at Umballa, I know," wrote an 
officer at Meerut ; " and I'll bet he will force 
his way through, and open up communication 
between the Commander-in-Chief and our- 
selves. At about 3 o'clock that night I heard 
my advanced sentries firing. I rode off to see 
what was the matter, and they told me that 
a part o ' the enemy's cavalry was approaching 
their post. When day broke in galloped 
Hodson ! He had left Kurnal (seventy-five miles 
off") at 9 o'clock the night before, with one led 
horse and an escort of Sikh cavalry, and, as I 
anticipated, here he was with despatches for 
Wilson ! How I quizzed him for approaching 
an armed post at night without knowing the 
parole ! Hodson rode straight to Wilson, had 
his interview, a bath, breakfast, and two hours' 
sleep, and then rode back the seventy-five miles, 
having to fight his way for about thirty miles 
of the distance." It was no wonder that 
another officer, writing to his wife at this time, 
said : " Hodson's gallant deeds more resemble 
a chapter from the life of Bayard or Amadis 
de Gaul than the doings of a subaltern of the 
nineteenth century. The only feeling mixed 
with admiration for him is envy." " The 
pace pleased him " (the Commander-in-Chief, 
General Anson), wrote Hodson himself, " for he 
ordered me to raise a Corps of Irregular Horse, 
and appointed me its commandant." 

At last, after a delay which nearly fretted to 
death the hearts of men like Hodson, the bulk 
of the army of vengeance started from Umballa 
under General Anson, who was presently', how- 
ever, stricken down with cholera and carried 
off". He was succeeded by General Sir Henry 
Barnard in the chief command of the Delhi 



field force, consisting of only three Brigades, 
totalling about 3,000 Europeans, 1,000 native 
troo;'s, and twenty-two guns — a poor enough 
army, surely, to be sent to recapture Delhi, with 
its hordes of highly-disciplined and well-armed 
sepoys behind its cannon-bristling walls. The 
plan of operations was that the two Umballa 
Brigades should advance to Baghput, where 
they would be joined by the Meerut Brigade, 
under Archdale Wilson, and then sweep on to 

a dull, deep tread ; long lines of baggage- 
camels and bullock-carts, with the innumerable 
sutlers and camp-servants, toiled along for miles 
in the rear, while the gigantic elephants stalked 
over bush and stone by the side of the road." 

The Meerut Brigade, being much nearer Delhi, 
set out on its march some days later than the 
Umballa force, and it had to fight its desperate 
wa}' to the point of junction. After three 
nights' marching the Meerut column, at dawn 



[F/u'to.: Frith, Reigate. 

the work of vengeance at Delhi. As it was the 
hottest season of the year, with its burning suns 
and blistering airs, the men rested in their tents 
during the day, and marched by night. *' The 
nights were delicious," wrote one who took part 
in the campaign ; " the stars bright in the deep 
dark sky, the fireflies flashing from bush to bush, 
and the air, which in Europe would have been 
called warm and close, was cool and refreshing 
to cheeks that had felt the hot wind during 
the day. Along the road came the heavy roll 
of the guns, mixed with the jingling of bits, 
and the clanking of the steel scabbards of the 
cavalry. The infantry marched on behind with 

on Ma}' 30th, reached the village of Ghazi-ud- 
din-Nagar, near the river Hindun, about ten 
miles from Delhi ; and here the bugler had 
barely time to call to arms when the rebels 
opened fire wdth heavy guns placed on a ridge. 
" The first few rounds from the insurgent 
guns," wrote an eye-witness, " were admirably 
aimed, plunging through our camp ; but the}' 
were ably replied to by our two eighteen- 
pounders in position, under Lieutenant Light, 
and Major Tombs' troop, most admirably led 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Murray-Mackenzie, who, 
raking them in flank with his six-pounders, first 
made their fire unsteady, and in a short time 



silenced the heavy guns.'' At the same time the 
60th Rifles went for the rebels in a most spirited 
manner, and captured several of their heavy 
guns. But in doing so Captain Andrews and 
four of his men were blown up by the explosion 
of an ammunition waggon fired by one of the 

taunted with cowardice on presenting them- 
selves at Delhi, and reinforced in order that 
they might redeem their reputation by hurling 
back the advancing force of Feringhees, or 
hated Franks — the name by which the English 
were known in India. But again the hurling 


mutineers. The 6th Dragoon Guards, or Cara- 
bineers, then charged and completed the rout 
of the rebels, who left in the hands of their 
victors all their ordnance, ammunition, and 
stores. That night the officers drank in solemn 
silence to the memory of their brave departed 
comrades, who were buried at dawn beside a 
babool tree. 

Next day, which was Whit-Sunday, the rebels 
again returned to the attack, for they had been 

back was all on the side of the sepoys, and once 
again they were sent scampering home to Delhi, 
though the English, at death's door almost with 
the scorching heat and their parching thirst, 
were unable to follow up this second victory 
of theirs by pursuit. Twenty-three of the 
enemy lay together in one ditch, and for three 
miles the road to Delhi was strewn with dead 
bodies. The English had to mourn the loss of 
four officers and fifty men — among the former 



being Napitr, an ensign of the Rifles, so active, 
so full of life, so brave, that he won the love and 
admiration of all. A bullet struck his leg, and 
the moment he was brought into camp it had 
to be amputated. During the operation never 
a sigh betrayed any sensation of pain. " I shall 
never lead the Rifles again," he plaintively mur- 
mured ; "I shall never lead the Rifles again." 
A few weeks later the brave and generous lad 
was laid in his grave. 

Next day the Meerut Brigade, which had 
done all the fighting hitherto, was reinforced by 
a battalion of Goorkhas, who were so overjoyed 
at the prospect of another fight that they threw 
somersaults and cut capers like so many mounte- 
banks. But, much to their disappointment, the 
enemy did not return. Six days later the whole 
Meerut force crossed the Jumna and joined 
General Barnard's Umballa Brigade at Alipur, 
being loudly cheered as they marched into head- 
quarters camp with the captured guns and other 
trophies of their victories. 

A day or two previously the intrepid Hodson 
had again been on the war-path. It was im- 
possible for Barnard to move forward on 
Delhi without knowing something of the posi- 
tions of the rebels in front of the city, and 
who but Hodson should volunteer to ride on 
and discover all that his commander wished to 
know I Taking with him a few troopers, he 
rode, as he wrote, " righ'. up to the Delhi parade- 
ground, and the few Sowars (or native horse- 
men) whom I met galloped away like mad at 
the sight of one white face. Had I had a 
hundred Guides with me I would have gone up 
to the very walls." A day or two later (8th 
July) he wrote : — " Here we are, safe and sound, 
after having driven the enemy out of their 
position in the cantonments up to and into the 
walls of Delhi. I write a line in pencil on 
the top of a drum to say that I am mercifully 
untouched, and none the worse for a very hard 
morning's work. Our loss has been considerable, 
the rebels having been driven from their guns 
at the point of the bayonet." 

This was a reference to the battle of Badli-Ki- 
Serai, where the 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment 
and the 60th Rifles again carried the day by a 
magnificent bayonet charge, though at a cost of 
53 killed and 130 wounded, while the rebel loss 
amounted to about 1,000. The British loss had 
been severe ; but the victory was worth the 
price, for the enemy had now been forced to 
surrender to their conqueror a commanding 
position, from which he could attack them with 

the greatest advantage, and the rebels had been 
driven ignominiously by a force far inferior to 
their own to take refuge within the walls of the 
city trom which they had but lately expelled 
every Christian whom they had not slaughtered. 

So here then, at last, on the 8th of June, our 
tiny British force had established itself in front 
of walled and embattled Delhi. Had anything 
so audacious, not to say impudent, ever been 
heard of before in the annals of warfare ? Troy, 
surely, was mere child's play to this, and 
Sebastopol a game of battledore. But weakness 
of numbers can sometimeij be made up for by 
strength of inspiration ; and every British soldier 
felt his heart swell to the size of that of twentj* 
men when he looked around the cantonments 
before Delhi and beheld the still extant traces of 
the late massacre of his countrymen — the marks 
of blood, the broken furniture, the blackened 
walls, the . shreds of ladies' dresses, and even the 
locks of their hair, and, more maddening than 
all, the tiny boots of English babies who had 
been barbarously slaughtered and tossed up on 
the bayonets of the rebels. What the British 
soldiers, heroically strong in their numerical 
weakness, now longed with a fierce and over- 
mastering desire to do was to cross ba^^onets 
with those incarnate fiends whom they had 
already swept back behind the walls of Delhi. 

These walls, with a circumference of about 
seven miles, were made of large blocks of grey 
freestone, crowned b}- a good loopholed parapet. 
At intervals along the circumference the}- were 
provided with bastions, each armed with ten, 
twelve, or fourteen guns, a hundred and fourteen 
in all, in addition to sixty field-guns. The city 
had ten gates, strong, and aptly named after 
the cities or provinces towards which they 
opened — Cashmere, Cabul, Lahore, etc. The 
walls were about twenty-four feet in height, 
while in front ran a dry ditch, twenty -five feet 
wide and about twenty feet deep. The counter- 
scarp — i.e. the outer side of the ditch — and 
the glacis, or smooth open slope leading away 
from the edge of the ditch, were such as to 
move the admiration of the English engineers. 
One side of the city, the eastern, was washed by 
the broad and deep Jumna, and could not be 
thought of. On the other hand, with his tiny 
force, it was equally impossible for Barnard 
to invest the whole place. So he selected the 
northern front of the city as the object of his 
attack when he should be in possession of heavy 
enough siege-artiller}- to breach the wall and 
let in the avenging flood. 



Meanwhile his position was the famous 
" Ridge " — a rocky elevation of about sixty feet 
above the general level of the city, extending 
along a line, obliquely to the front of attack, of 
a little over two miles, its left resting upon the 
Jumna some three miles above Delhi, and its 
right approaching the Cabul gate at a distance 
of about a thousand yards. Prominent points 
on this " Ridge " were the Flagstaff Tower, a 
ruined mosque, an ancient observatory, Hindoo 
Rao's House, and Swami House, which, in the 
mouth of Tommy Atkins, speedily became 
" Sammy " House. These were all good points 
in favour of the British. But, on the other 
hand, the rebels, sallying out 
of the city, could profit by 
the cover afforded them by 
the suburban villages (Sub- 
zee Mundee, or " vegetable 
market," the chief of them), 
gardens, groves, house- 
clusters, and walled enclo- 
sures, to indulge in a per- 
petual series of attacks on 
the British position. For 
though the English had 
come to besiege, the few- 
ness of their numbers and 
the temporar}^ want of 
heavy guns reduced them 
at first to the position of 
besieged ; and for a long 
time — more than three 
months, in fact — their 
energies were consumed in 

fending oft" the ferocious sorties of the Delhi 
garrison. These sorties they began on the 
very day after the sitting down of the British 
on the " Ridge," but were sent packing back 
again with serious loss. The repulse of their 
first sally was mainly due to the bravery of 
the famous Corps of Guides, composed of 
stalwart frontier men of all races, arrayed in 
their own loose, dusky shirts, and sun-proof, 
sword-proof turbans, who had marched into 
camp with a swinging stride that very morning, 
after moving for twenty-seven miles a day for 
three weeks, at the hottest time of the year — 
one of the greatest feats of the war. Three 
hours after their arrival they were launched 
against the rebels, whom they pursued up to the 
city walls, but at the cost of their dearly-loved 
commander, Lieutenant Quintin Battye. " Now 
I have a chance of seeing service," he had joy- 
fully exclaimed on setting out with his regiment, 


for he was a keen soldier, a good swordsman, 
and a splendid rider. But he fell in his very first 
fight, saying gaily to a comrade as he breathed 
his last : '' Well, old fellow, didce et decorum 
est pro patrid mori ; you see it's my case.'" 

A few days after this General Barnard, be- 
lieving with Macbeth that " 'twere well it were 
done quickly," had yielded to a scheme for 
storming the city ofFright — a scheme in which 
the bold and fier}- Hodson had a prominent 
share. Under cover of the darkness, two 
columns were to steal up to as many gates, 
blow these in with gunpowder, and then rush 
into the city. But owing to a misunderstanding 
on the part of one of the 
commanders, the plan had 
finally to be abandoned 
— much to the disgust of 
the younger members of 
Barnard's staff, who were 
simply dying for the per- 
formance of such a feat. 
Another council of war 
debated the chances of its 
success ; but cautious — call 
it not timorous — counsels 
meanwhile prevailed, for 
the news of a repulse, 
following upon an ill-ad- 
vised assault, would have 
added fresh fuel to the fire 
of the mutiny, which was 
now blazing up more furi- 
ously than ever, beyond the 
extinguishing power of 
rivers of blood, over the length and breadth of 

From every part of the country the mutineers 
continued to stream in to Delhi, and ever, as 
fresh contingents arrived, they were sent out to 
tr}- their prowess on the holders of the " Ridge " ; 
and hold it they did with a tenacity which 
neither wounds, nor death, nor disease, nor 
pestiknce could in the least degree relax. ^\\ 
the men's tents they made merry, and, like the 
Greeks before Troy, had their sports just as if 
they had been far away at home on the village- 
greens of Old England. Stricken to death, the 
soldier told his officer he would soon be up again 
and ready for another brush with the mutineers. 
In the space at our disposal we cannot detail, we 
can scarcely enumerate, the actions that were 
fought in front of Delhi— more than thirty of 
them in twelve weeks, and all to the glory of the 
British name. Let one or two instances of 



conspicuous personal valour before the foe serve 
to illustrate the spirit which animated all our 
little besieging army. 

" I must tell you," wrote an officer, " of a 
noble action of Lieutenant Hills of the Artillerj^ 
(a young man who only four 3'ears ago had been 

Disgraceful to say, the Carabineers turned and 
bolted. His guns being limbered up, he could 
do nothing, but, rather than fly, he charged them 
by himself. He fired four barrels of his revolver 
and killed two men, hurling the empty pistol in 
the face of another and knocking him off his 


a pupil at the Edinburgh Academy). He was 
on picket, with his two horse-artillery guns, 
when the alarm was sounded and an order sent 
him to advance, given under the impression that 
the enemy were at some distance. He was 
supported by a body of Carabineers — eighty, 
I believe, in number. He advanced about 
100 yards, while his guns were being limbered 
up to follow, and suddenly came on about 
120 of the enemy's cavalry close upon them. 

horse. Two horsemen then charged full tilt at 
him, and rolled him and his horse over. He 
got up with no weapons, and, seeing a man on 
foot coming at him to cut him down, rushed at 
him, got inside his sword, and hit him full in the 
face with his fist. At that moment he was cut 
down from behind, and a second blow would 
have done for him had not Tombs, his captain, 
the finest fellow in the service, Avho had been in 
his tent when the row began, arrived at the 



critical moment and shot his assailant — by a 
splendid shot, fired at thirty paces. Hills was 
able to walk home, though his wound was 
severe ; and on the road Tombs saved his 
life once more by sticking another man who 
attacked him. If they don't both get the 
Victoria Cross, it won't be worth having." 
But they both did. 

Another personal exploit of a similar kind 
was thus recorded by an officer : — " We took 
Khurkonda by surprise, and Hodson immediately 
placed men over the gates and we went in. 
Shot one scoundrel instanter^ cut down another, 
and took a ressaldar (native officer) and some 
sowars prisoners, and came to a house occupied 
by some more, who would not let us in at all. 
At last we rushed in, and found the rascals 
had taken to the upper storey, still keeping us 
at bay. There was only one door and a kirkee 
(window). I shoved in my head through the 
door, with a pistol in my hand, and got a clip 
over my turban for my pains. My pistol missed 
fire at the man's breast, so I got out of that 
as fast as I could, and then tried the kirkee with 
the other barrel, and very nearly got another 
cut. We tried every means to get in, but could 
not, so we fired the house, and out they rushed 
— running amuck among us. The first fellow 
went at Hugh (the writer's brother), and some- 
how or other he slipped and fell on his back. I 
saw him fall, and, thinking he was hurt, rushed 
to the rescue. A Guide got a chop at the fellow, 
and I gaf\-e him such a swinging back-hander 
that he fell dead. I then went at another fellow 
rushing by my left, and sent my sword thrpugh 
him like butter, and bagged him. I then looked 
round and saw a sword come crash on the 
shoulders of a poor little boy — oh, such a cut ! 
and up went the sword again, and the next 
moment the boy would have been in eternity ; 
but I ran forward and covered him with my 
sword and saved him." 

" What a sight our camp would be,'' wrote 
another officer, " even to those who visited 
Sebastopol ! The long lines of tents, the 
thatched hovels of the native servants, the rows 
of horses, the parks of artillery, the British 
soldier in his grey linen coat and trousers, the 
dark Sikhs with their red and blue turbans, the 
Afghans with the same, their wild air and 
coloured saddle-cloths, and the little Goorkhas, 
dressed up like demons of ugliness in their black 
worsted Kilmarnock bonnets and woollen coats. 
In the rear are the booths of the native bazaars, 
and further out, on the plain, thousands of 

camels, bullocks, and horses that carry our 
baggage. The soldiers are loitering through 
the lines or in the bazaars. Suddenly an 
alarm is sounded, and everyone rushes to his 
tent. The Infantry soldier seizes his musket 
and slings on his pouch ; the artilleryman 
gets his gun horsed ; the Afghan rides out to 
explore ; and in a few minutes everyone is 
in his place.'' 

Such was the state of the camp in repose. 
And now for a picture, from another hand, of 

the same camp when roused into action. " I 
was out this night," wrote an officer, " in one of 
our principal batteries with a party of my Guides, 
placed there to protect the guns ; and I shall 
never forget the scene at two o'clock in the 
morning. The sight was a most magnificent 
one — all our batteries and all the city ones were 
playing as hard as they could, the shells bursting, 
round shot tearing with a whooshing sound 
through our embrasures, the carcasses (or large 
balls of fire) flying over our heads, the musketry 
rolling and flashing, made the place as light as 
day. The noise was terrific, though the roar of 
the cannon was frequently drowned in the roar 
of human voices, for, when the whole city turned 



out, there could not have been less than 20,000 
voices all screanung at once. The mutineers' 
yell of ' Allah .' Allah ! Allah Akbar ! Allah 
Akbar I ' was answered by our jolly English 
hurrahs, and the din was most frightful. I never 
remember seeing such a beautiful sight or 
hearing such a noise. The mutineers, though 
they tried very hard to take our batteries, could 
not succeed, though some of them got up near 
enough to throw hand-grenades into them. 
The grand attack lasted about two hovirs, when 
the enemy gave in a little, though thev didn't 
retire. The fighting went on all the rest of the 
night, and up to two o'clock next day, when 
both sides retired. We were all glad of a little 
rest, as most of us had been fighting for upwards 
of thirt}' hours." 

It was only after the 23rd of June that the 
prospects of the besiegers had begun to brighten. 
This was the hundredth anniversarv of the day 
on which Clivc, at Plassey, had founded British 
rule in India ; and there had been a superstitious 
belief among the natives that on this centenary 
the English Raj would also come to an end. 
Accordingly, the Delhi mutineers, hounded on 
bv their priests and astrologers, as well as 
encouraged bv copious draughts of bhang (the 
native intoxicant), made an unusually vigorous 
push for the British position with intent to turn 
it and assail it in the rear ; but they were finallv 
repulsed with great slaughter, carrying back 
with them the bitter conviction that, far from 
being exterminated, the British Raj was now 
again in a fair way of being restored to its 
previous supremacy. 

But perhaps the most brilliant action fought 
in front of Delhi — or, rather, several miles to 
the west of it — was that of Nujuf-gurh. The 
mutineers had got to know that our heavy 
siege-train, with but a slender escort, was at last 
approaching, and they determined to make a 
dash for it. But this was a game at which two 
could pla}-, and Brigadier Nicholson, one of 
the greatest heroes of the war, who had by 
this time come down from the Punjab to take 
part in, and indeed conduct, the siege, was 
despatched with the Movable Column to do 
diamond cut diamond against the rebels. He 
found them in averv strong position, and greatlv 
superior to him in numbers and guns. But 
what did that matter ? Turning to his infantry, 
whom he ordered to lie down to avoid the 
showers of grape. Nicholson thus addressed 
them: "Now. bist, I have but a few- words 
to say. You all know what Sir Colin Campbell 

said to you at Chillianwallah, and you must also 
have heard that he used a similar expression 
(to his Highlanders) at the Alma : that is, ' Hold 
your fire till within twenty or thirty yards of 
the battery, and then, my boys, we will make 
short work of it.' " 

Let one of xVicholson's officers now take up 
the tale : — " Our guns went away to the 
flank. We got ' Fix bayonets ; quick — march ! ' 
On we went, in a beautiful line, at a steady 
pace. On we went, and we got within 
some fift)' yards of them, when the men gave 
a howl, and on we dashed, and were slap 
into them before they had time to depress the 
guns. It was bayonet to bayonet in a few 
moments, but we cut them up and spiked the 
guns. We had very few men killed in the 
charge, as we got in before the)' fired the grape. 
Lieutenant G., 6ist, was bayoneted b}' a sepoy 
after cutting down two. N. shot the man 
that did it. He had his horse shot under him, 
and I saw him hand-to-hand with a sepoy, whom 
he polished oflF with his sword. . . On we went 
after the brutes, and cut up a heap at the serai 
and behind it. We then drew up in line, rallied, 
and went at the camp, took it, sent a party to 
take the village, and then we went and took 
the guns at the bridge, over which the enemy 
was bolting in thousands. Here we took six 
guns more. Up came our guns, and blazed 
away at the enemy, and off they went, leaving 
a host of stores, etc., all along the road. . . I was 
so tired that I lay down on a hide and fell 
asleep. Next morning the work of destruction 
was finished, and off we marched with a lot of 
treasure, etc., and thirteen guns, and brought 
all safe into camp, after a hard march, arriving 
at the camp-bridge just in the cool of the 
evening, when the camp turned out to meet us, 
and gave us ' three times three,' and played us 
in with some lively airs, with a final ' Hip — hip — 
hurrah ! ' for the gallant 6 1st, who had reserved 
their fire, as the Highlanders of the ' thin, red 
line ' had done at Balaclava, until they had 
almost seen the whites of their enem^-'s eyes, 
and then ' given them beans ' with bullet and 

On the 4th of September the siege train, 
each gun drawn by twenty pairs of bullocks, at 
last arrived, and the hearts of all the British 
beat high at the thought that the assault must 
now soon be delivered on the doomed cit}'. 
Two days later also considerable reinforcements 
came in, bringing up our little siege army to 
6,:oo infantry, 1,000 cavalry, and 600 artillery 



--of which only 3,317 were British troops, and 
the European corps were now mere skeletons of 
their former selves. In order to stimulate the 
spirits of this miscellaneous host, Wilson issued 
a general order, in which he expressed his as- 
surance that " British pluck and determination 
will carry everything before them, and that the 
bloodthirst}' and murderous mutineers whom we 
are lighting will be driven headlong out of 
their stronghold and exterminated " ; but, to 
enable them to do this, he warned the troops of 
the absolute necessity of their keeping together, 
vind not straggling from theij- columns. By this 
only could success be secured. " Major-General 
Wilson," he continued. " need hardly remind 
the troops of the cruel murders of their officers 
and comrades, their wives and children, to move 
them to the deadly struggle. No quarter 
should be given to the mutineers ! At the 
same time, for the sake of humanity and the 
honour of the country they belong to, he calls 
upon them to spare all women and children 
that may come in their way." 

Meanwhile the Engineers, directed by Baird- 
Smith, another of the giants of this Trojan- 
Delhi fray, set to work in the darkness and 
silently traced out the siege-batteries. A long 
string of camels brought in fascines and sandbags, 
and hundreds of men exerted themselves to the 
utniost in raising them, as the work had to be 
completed before dawn. Showers of grape-shot 
were rained on them from the battlements, but 
our devoted men worked on with a will, and 
by morning Batter}- No. i was in working order 
and belching forth its eighteen-pound shot at 
such a rate that the Moree Bastion soon became 
a heap of ruins. This battery was commanded 
by Major Brind, of whom it was said that " he 
never slept," and would say to his men as he 
shouldered a musket — " Now, you lie and rest ; 
3'our commandant will defend the battery.'' 
'' We talk about Victoria Crosses," said some- 
one ; " Brind should be covered with them from 
head to foot ! " Battery No. 2, of eighteen 
guns, was constructed in two portions on the left 
about 500 yards from the Cashmere Gate, its 
task being to knock away the parapet right and 
left that gave cover to the defenders, and to 
open the main breach by which the city was to 
be stormed. Conspicuous for his cool bravery in 
this battery was a young lieutenant — Roberts — 
who had some very narrow shaves during the 
siege, but luckily escaped death in all its various 
forms to become one of the most distinguished 
fighters ever produced by India, that cradle of 

great soldiers, and to gain for himself an 
immortal name as the hero of the famous march 
from Cabul to Candahar. 

Two other batteries, Nos. 3 and 4, were also 
raised, one of them mounting six eighteen- 
pounders ; and at eight o'clock on the morning 
of the nth of September a terrific roar an- 
nounced that our biggest breaching-guns had 
opened fire. A loud cheer, sending the smoke 
whirling away in eddies, burst from the throats 
of our artillerymen as they saw how well their 
fire had taken effect, and beheld huge blocks 
of stone tottering and tumbling down from the 
parapets of the walls. Cheer after cheer went 
up at this most gratifying sight, and in about 
ten minutes the enemy's counter-fire from the 
bastions had been completely silenced. Yet 
they did not at once give up the artillery duel. 
For what the}^ could not do from the walls 
the}- tried to compass in the open, and ran out 
several guns, with which they did great damage 
by enfilading our batteries. They also sent out 
rockets from their Martello towers, and kept up 
a storm of musketry from their advanced trench 
as well as from the walls, causing us severe loss. 
But who cared for loss when Delhi was there to 
be won ? Night and day, day and night, did 
our siege-batteries belch forth their thunder- 
bolts against the city walls ; and by the 13th of 
September it was concluded that the long- 
wished-for time had at last arrived. Yet it 
behoved the besiegers to proceed with caution, 
and so four Engineer officers were selected to 
steal forward to the Cashmere and Water Bas- 
tions and find out whether the breaches there 
were now big enough to allow of the assault. 

There was no mo«in, but the sky was bright 
with stars, and with the lurid light of flashing 
rockets and fire-balls. Suddenly, as the clock 
struck ten, the thunder of the guns ceased, 
and then the explorers, drawing their swords 
and feeling for their revolvers, began to creep 
towards the ditch. Medley and Lang, Home 
and Greathed were the officers who had volun- 
teered for this perilous service. The two 
former got down into the ditch undiscovered ; 
but then, to quote the words of Medley him- 
self, " a number of figures appeared on the top 
of the breach, their forms clearly discernible 
against the bright sky, and not twenty yards 
distant. We, however, were in the deep shade, 
and they could not apparently see us. They 
conversed in a low tone, and presentl}- we heard 
the ring of their steel ramrods as they loaded. 
We waited quietly, hoping they would go away. 



when another attempt might bj; made. Mean- 
while, we could see that the breach was a good 
one, the slope easy of ascent, and that there 
were no guns on the flank. We knew by ex- 
perience, too, that the ditch was easy of descent. 
It was, however, desirable to get to the top, but 

Major Keid, was told off to assault the suburb 
of Kissengunge and support the main attack 
by effecting an entrance at the Cabul Gate 
after it should be taken ; and the fifth, under 
Brigadier Longfield, was to follow the first 
and act according to circumstances. 

By three o'clock the 
whole camp was astir. 
Many of the officers 
and men had taken 
the Holy Communion 
the night before, and 
in some tents the Old 
Testament lesson for 
the day had been read 
— the chapter being that 
in which the doom of 
Nineveh was foretold. 
Some 6,000 men, of 
whom only about 1,200 
were British soldiers, 
were going to take a 
walled city defended by 


the sentries would not 
move."' Medley then gave 
the signal, and the party 
started to return to the 
camp. But the sound of 
their departing feet be- 
trayed them. " Directlv 
we were discovered a voile}- 
was sent after us ; the balls 
came whizzing about our 
ears, but no one was 
touched." A favourable 
report being also received 

from Home and Greathed, orders were given for 
the assault at dawn. 

The infantry of the storming force was 
divided into five columns, the duty of the first, 
under Brigadier Nicholson, being to storm the 
breach near the Cashmere Bastion. The second, 
under Brigadier Jones, had likewise to storm 
the Water Bastion. To the third, commanded 
by Colonel Campbell, fell the task of storming 
through the Cashmere Gate after it had been 
blown in ; while the fourth column^ under 


iPholo : Frith Sr Co.. Rcigate. 


30,000 desperate and disciplined rebels. The 
news of the foul and treacherous massacre at 
Cawnpore by the Nana Sahib had by this 
time reached the soldiers, and inflamed their 
hearts anew with the desire to take fearful 
vengeance on such barbarous foes. They had 
suffered more than tongue could tell ; but the 
hour of their retribution and their great reward 
was now at hand. 

Suddenly the roar of the guns ceased, and the 
columns started to their feet as the Rifles, with 



a loud cheer, dashed to the front in skirmish- 
ing array. In a stern silence the storming 
columns tramped away towards the ditch ; but 
it was now bright da}-, for, owing to some 
hitch, they had not been able to move with the 
dawn. The consequence Avas that before they 


men, leaping down after them, planted them 
against the scarp and swarmed up. Nicholson 
himself, the "Lion of the Punjab," as he was 
well called, was the first to mount the breach, 
waving with his sword for his men to follow. 
In a similar manner Lieutenant Fitzgerald 


had reached the crest of the glacis, with the 
Engineers and laddermen in front, numbers of 
them had fallen under the truly infernal shower 
of bullets that was rained upon them from the 
walls. For several minutes the first column 
found it impossible to lower the ladders and 
descend into the ditch while the fiendish-looking 
rebels cursed and yelled at them from the other 
side, daring them to come on. Presently the 
ladders were thrown into the ditch, and the 

led the escalade of the adjoining bastion ancf 
fell mortally wounded. With a rousing cheer 
the stormers dashed over the debris of the 
breach like an irresistible wave bursting in a 
breakwater wall. For a few minutes there was 
a wild chaos of cheers, groans, yells, blazing of 
musketry, and clash of crossing bayonets, and 
then the rebels turned and fled like a pack of 
wolves, leaving this portion of their ramparts 
in possession of the victorious Nicholson. 

Meanwhile, the second column on the extreme 
left had carried the Water Bastion by an equally 
successful, but an equally sacrificial, rush. For 
of the thirty-nine laddermen preceding the 



column, twentv-nine were struck down in a 
few minutes ; but their comrades seized the 
ladders and reared them up against the scarp, 
while others rushed up the breach, and bayonet- 
ing all before them, drove the rebels from the 
walls. Then, turning to the right, the stormers 
swept along the ramparts towards the Cashmere 
Bastion, where thev were joined by some of 
Nicholson's men, and, rushing ever along the 
walls, reached the Moree Bastion, where they 
slew the gunners and leapt on to the parapets, 
sending up a cheer and waving their caps to 
their comrades on the Ridge as a signal of 

All this work had been short and sharp, and 
done with a splendid courage. But perhaps the 
scene of the finest acts of individual heroism 
was the Cashmere "Gate, where the third column, 
under Colonel Campbell, had meanwhile also 
forced an entrance in the following manner : 
Covered by the fire of the both Rifles, a party 
of sappers and miners advanced at the double 
toward the Cashmere Gate. Lieutenant Home, 
with Sergeants Smith and Carmichael, and 
Havildar Mahoo leadmg and carrying the 
powder-bags, followed by Lieutenant Salkeld, 
Corporal Burgess, and some others. They 
reached the gatewav unhurt, and found that 
part of the drawbridge had been destroyed ; 
but passing by the precarious footing sup- 
plied by the remaining beams, they proceeded 
to lodge their powder against the gate. 
The wicket was open, and through it the 
enemv kept up a heavv fire upon them. 
Sergeant Carmichael was killed while laying his 
powder, ..but when this was at last laid, the 
advanced party slipped down into the ditch to 
allow the firing partv, under Lieutenant Salkeld, 
to do its duty. While endeavouring to fire the 
charge, Lieutenant Salkeld was shot through 
the leg and arm. and handed over the match 
to Corporal Burge s, who fell mortally wounded 
just as he had successfully done his duty. Then 
a terrific thunder-roar and explosion, scattering 
large masses of masonr}', and mangled human 
forms in all directions, announced that these acts 
of heroism had been crowned with success. 
Lieutenant Home now ordered Bugler Haw- 
thorne to sound the regimental call of the 52nd 
Regiment as the signal for the advance of 
the column ; and this was thrice repeated, lest, 
amid the noise and tumult of the assault, the 
tones of the trumpet should not be heard. Then, 
after having thus coolly blown his bugle, the 
brave Hawthorne turned to Lieutenant Salkeld 

and bound up his wounds under a heavy 
musketry fire, thus ensuring for himself the 
\'ictoria Cross, which was also conferred on the 
few survivors of this "glorious deed — the noblest 
on record in military history," as Baird-Smith 
justly called it when bringing it to the notice 
of his chief. " Salkeld mortalh' wounded," said 
another writer, " handing over the portfire and 
bidding his comrade light the train, is one of 
those incidents which will remain till the end of 
time conspicuous on the page of history." 

With a way thus opened up for it, Colonel 
Campbell's storming column now burst into 
the city, slaughtering all it met ; and was only 
stopped in its career of conquest when it reached 
the Chandnee Chouk, or Piccadilly of Delhi, 
running right through the citv from the 
Lahore Gate to the Palace. 

In the meantime Major Reid's fourth column, 
w^hose task was to advance against the Cabul 
Gate, had been less successful — had, in fact, come 
to grief. For having to fight his way through 
some suburbs affording splendid cover to the 
rebels, his men were very much cut up, and, on 
the fall of their leader, had to retiie. At one 
time it was gravely feared that the enemy, 
elated with their success at this point, would 
issue in overwhelming numbers and seek to turn 
the flank of the British outside position and 
thus threaten the camp. But at the critical 
moment Hope Grant brought up the Cavalry 
Brigade, which had been covering the assaulting 
columns, and made the rebels pause. For two 
hours the troopers, drawn up in battle array, sat 
like statues, while the ranks were every minute 
rent by musket ball and grape. Not a man 
flinched from his post, though under this galling 
fire for two hours. Of Tombs' troop alone 
twenty-five men out of fifty, and seventeen 
horses were hit. The 9th Lancers had thirty- 
eight men wounded, sixty-one horses killed, 
wounded and missing, and the officers lost ten 
horses. Nothing daunted by these casualties, 
these gallant soldiers held their ground with a 
patient endurance, and on their commander 
praising ihem for their good behaviour they 
declared their readiness to stand the fire as long 
as ever he chose. Against such firmness the foe 
could make no headway, and outside the city 
their counter-attack was at last foiled. 

It would take a volume to describe the course 
and incidents of the conquering career of the 
various storming columns which had forced their 
way into the heart of the cit}' ; but let the fol- 
lowing description of ';he doings of Nicholson's 


5rst column serve as a sample of the fighting 
which had still to be done. The writer, Air. 
Forrest, drew up his narrative after visiting the 
spot in the company of Lord Roberts. 

"On reaching the head of the street at the 
Cabul Gate, the enemy again made a resolute 
stand, but were speedily driven forward. A por- 
tion of the first column was halted here, and 
proceeded to occupy the houses round the Cabul 
Gate, Avhile the remainder continued the pursuit. 
As the troops advanced up the Rampart Road, 
die enemy opened a heavy and destructive fire 
from the guns on the road and a field-piece 
planted on the wall. The English soldiers, 
raising a shout, rushed and took the first gun on 
the road, but were brought to a. check within 
ten yards of the second by the grape and 
musketry with which the enemy plied them, 
and by the stones and iron shot which they 
rolled on them. Seeking all the scanty shelter 
they could find, the men retired, leaving behind 
the gun they had captured. After a short pause 
they were re-formed, and the order given to 
advance. Once again the Fusiliers, scathed with 
fire from both sides, rushed forward and seized 
and secured the gun. They plunged forward, 
and had gone but a few ^^ards when their gallant 
leader. Major Jacob, fell mortally wounded. As 
he lay writhing in agony on the ground, two or 
three of his men wished to carry him to the 
rear ; but he refmsed their aid, and urged them 
to press forward against the foe. The officers 
bounding far ahead of their men, were swiftly 
struck down, and the soldiers, seeing their leaders 
fail, began to waver. At this moment the heroic 
Nicholson arrived, and, springing forward, called 
with a stentorian voice upon the soldiers to 
follow him, and instantly he was shot through 
the chest. Near the spot grows a tall, graceful 
tree, and Nicholson ordered himself to be laid 
beneath its shade, saying he would wait there 
till Delhi was taken. But for once he was dis- 
obeved and removed to his tent on the Ridge." 

Had Nicholson been allowed to lie under the 
tree, he would have had to wait several days yet 
before the capture of the city was completed. So 
far the besiegers had done little more than effect 
a foothold within its walls, and at a cost of 66 
officers and i,ioo men in killed and wounded — 
or about two men in nine. The bullets of the 
rebels had worked sad havoc among the stormers, 
and what these bullets had spared drink and 
debauchery threatened to destroy. For, knowing 
the weakness of the British soldier for strong 
drink, the rebels had cunningly strewn the 

deserted shops and pavements with bottles of 
beer, wine, and spirits ; and now there ensued 
scenes of revelry and abandoned indulgence in 
liquor which recalled to mind the assault and 
capture of Badajoz. But the demon of destruc- 
tion filled the breast of the British soldier as 
well as the demon of drink, and though, true to 
the injunction of his commander, he spared, and 
was even kind to, women and children, he 
slaughtered without mercv all the males who 
crossed his avenging path. But if provocation 
be any excuse for massacre, or blood be the just 
equivalent of blood, then certainly the British 
soldier in Delhi must have had many apologists. 

The task of carrying the rest of the town was 
carried out day by day with skill and caution. 
From the first a continuous fire from our guns 
was kept up on all the remaining strongholds of 
the rebels — the Palace, J iirnma Musjid, etc. ; and 
at dawn on the i6th the magazine was stormed 
and taken with but slight loss. The same day 
the rebels evacuated the suburb Kissengunge. 
On the evening of the 19th the Burn Bastion 
was surprised and captured by a party from the 
Cabul Gate, and early next morning the Lahore 
Gate, to which the Engineers had sapped their 
way through the adjacent houses, was taken, 
as well as the Garsten Bastion ; finally, on the 
same afternoon, the gates of the Palace, which 
had witnessed the cruel murder of English 
officers, women, and children, were blown in, and 
our troops raised a final shout of victory before 
the throne of Bahadoor Shah. That shadow of 
a monarch had fled and taken refuge in the 
tomb of the Emperor Humayoon, outside the 
city ; but here he was sought and found by 
Lieutenant Hodson, who, escorted by only a few 
sowars, undertook the exceedingly dangerous 
task of capturing the king. 

The story of this capture, as told by one of 
Hodson's comrades, reads like a romance. After 
securing his captives, "the march towards the 
city began — the longest five miles, as Hodson 
said, that he had ever ridden ; for, of course, 
the palkees only went at a foot-pace, with his 
handful of men around them, and followed by 
thousands, any one of whom could have shot him 
down in a moment. His orderly told me it was^ 
wonderful to see the influence which his calm, 
undaunted look had on the crowd. They 
seemed perfectly paralysed at the fact of one 
white man carrying off their king alone. 
Gradual Iv, as they approached the city, the 
crowd slunk away, and very few followed up to 
the Lahore Gate. Then Captain Hodson rode 



on a few paces, and ordered the gate to be 
opened. The officer on duty asked simply as he 
passed what he had got in his palkees. ' Only 
the King of Delhi,' was the answer, on which 
the officer's enthusiastic exclamation was more 
emphatic than becomes ears polite. The guard 
were for turning out to greet him with a cheer, 
and could only be repressed on being told that the 
king would take the honour to himself. They 
passed up the magnificent deserted street to the 
Palace Gate, where Captain Hodsoai met the 
civil officer, and formally delivered over his 
royal prisoner to him. His remark was amusing : 
' By Jove ! Hodson, they ought to make you 
Commander-in-Chief for this.' " 

Next day Hodson returned for the king's 
sons, but to them he was less merciful. " I 
came," he wrote, "just in time, as a large mob 
had collected and were turning on the guard. I 
rode in among them at a gallop, and in a few 
words I appealed to the crowd, saying that these 
were the butchers who had slaughtered and 
brutally ill-used helpless women and children, 
and that the Government had now sent their 
punishment. Seizing a carbine from one of the 
men, I deliberately shot them one after another. 
I then ordered the bodies to be taken into the 
city, and thrown out on the ' Chiboutra,' in front 
of the ' Kotwalie,' where the blood of their 
innocent victims could still be traced. The 
bodies remained before the KotwaUe until this 
morning, when, for sanitary reasons, they were 

removed. Thus in twenty-four hours, therefore, 
I disposed of the principal members of the house 
of Timur the Tartar. I am not cruel, but 1 
confess I did rejoice at the opportunity of ridding 
the earth of these wretches." 

This summitry act of vengeance aroused much 
difference of opinion as to its justice and 
humanity, but Hodson himself wrote : " I am 
too conscious of the rectitude of my own 
moti\'es to care what the few ma}* say, while my 
own conscience and the voice of the many 
pronounce me right." 

That same night the toast of " Her Majestv 
the Queen," proposed by the conqueror o*^ 
Delhi, was drunk with all honour in the 
Dewan-i-Khas b}- the head-quarters staff. Never 
had the old building re-echoed with any sound 
half so fine. The cheer was taken up by the 
gallant Goorkhas of the Sirmoor Battalion who 
formed the General's personal guard, and was, 
indeed, soon re-echoed all over India, all over 
the English world. 

Thus, then, ended this famous siege, one of 
the greatest and most memorable in the history 
of England — a siege which, out of an effective 
force that never amounted to 10,000 men, en- 
tailed a loss of 992 killed and 2,845 wounded, 
apart from all those who died from disease and 
exposure ; but a siege, at the same time, which 
added an imperishable leaf to England's laurel 
crown, and enabled her to retain her imperial 
hold on Hindostan. 


WHAT battle is this?" we can con- 
ceive our readers asking ; " and 
where is Gishkon ? " The form 
of the name may put some on 
the right track. In one of the most frequented 
regions of Switzerland " -ikons " are as common 
as "-inghams" in England, and no one who has 
travelled over any of the railwa3's about Zurich or 
Lucerne can have failed to notice some instance 
of the odd-looking termination. Switzerland is 
indeed the country to which we are going, and 
among those of our readers who have already 
visited that "playground of Europe," we will 
venture to say that at least one-half have been 
close to, if they have not actually passed over, 
the field on which the battle that we are sroinor 

o o 

to describe was fought. For Gislikon lies not 
more than six miles from the top of the world- 
famous Rigi ; it is a station on the not less 
famous St. Gotthard railway. 

Having got so far, we are prepared for further 
inquiries, not unmixed with incredulity. It is 
hard for us to realise that a battle has been 
fought in Switzerland during the last fifty 
years. One can almost as easily imagine a 
battle in England as in that prosperous little 
country, which many of us look upon as almost 
an appendage to England, and associate with 
nothing more serious than holidays and hotels 
and mountain-rambles. The better-informed 
have heard of cantons, and probably think that 
they are something equivalent to English coun- 
ties or French departments ; while the}' suppose 
that the country called " Switzerland " has 
always been much where it is now, with the 
same frontier and the same territory. How 
many, we wonder, realise when they cross the 
well-known Gemmi Pass from Leukerbad to 
Kandersteg that they are passing from one 
sovereign State, with its own laws, into another, 
and that while the State into which they are 
going, Bern, has been part of the Confederation 

which is now called Switzerland for more than 
500 years, the one which they are leaving, 
Valais, only became so at a date when Mr. 
Gladstone was already six years old? So it is, 
however,- and men much younger than Mr. 
Gladstone can remember a time when Bern and 
Valais were actually at war with each other, 
just as, a few y-^ars later, Penns3-lvania and 
Louisiana were at war. Happily, in the case or 
Switzerland the war was quickly finished, lasting 
hardly as many weeks as the greater conflict 
lasted years, and involving, as we shall see, a far 
smaller loss of life and property than many wars 
which have had far less important results. It is 
probably not too much to say that had the 
battle not been fought where it was, or had the 
issue been different, there would now be no 
Switzerland at all on the map of Europe. 

Before describing the battle, we must give 
some account of the events which led to it. 
The years of peace which followed the battle of 
Waterloo, were by no means years of domestic 
tranquillity for most of the Continental States. 
The various absolute governments had been 
thoroughly frightened by the events of the 
French Revolution, and ruled more absolutely 
than ever. The rearrangement of Europe also» 
which followed the fall of Napoleon, had, in 
many cases, produced much discontent ; and, in 
one way or another, every country was going 
through a critical period. Kings were driven 
from their thrones ; men were constantly pun- 
ished for the mere expression of their opinions ; 
secret societies were formed, and assassinations 
were frequent. 

Switzerland, too, had its troubles, though as 
the form of government in every canton was 
already republican, these took the shape rather 
of fights between contending parties than of 
rebellion followed by repression. One great cause 
of difference was to be found in the various 



oiews as to a revision of the " Federal Pact," 
or treaty, which governed the relations of the 
States to the Confederation, the Liberals wishing 
to see these drawn closer, while the Conserva- 
tives favoured cantonal independence. Other 
differences were due to local causes. Thus in 
Schwyz a serious quarrel arose over the 
use of the common pastures. The 
wealthier men who could keep cows were 
thought to have unfair privileges over those 
who had only sheep and goals. The 
former were known as "horn-men," the 
latter as " hoof-men." They represented the 
Clerical (or Conser- 
vative) and Liberal 
parties respectively, 
and the Federal 
Diet had, in 1838, 
to interfere to keep 
the peace between 
them. The com- 
parative strength of 
parties varied very 
much in the different 
States, and even in 
the same State sud- 
den changes of feel- 
ing were not infre- 
quent. Moreover, 
matters were com- 
plicated by religious 
differences. Some 
of the cantons were 
Catholic, some Pro- 
testant, while in 
others the popula- 
tion was more or 
less evenl}' divided 
between the two 
forms of faith. It 
by no means fol- 
lowed that the poll- ai" 
tical divisions went 

on the same lines as the religious ; and in 
almost every canton there were representatives 
of both parties. Lucerne was the most power- 
ful of the Catholic cantons, and until 1841 had 
been on the Liberal side, and in favour of a 
revision of the Federal Pact. In that year, 
however, the Government was utterly over- 
thrown at the polls, and the Clerical party came 
into power, headed by Constantine Siegwart, an 
able and ambitious man. who had formerly been 
strong on the other side. The neighbouring 
canton of Aargau, which was divided between 

Catholics and Protestants, and which had only 
joined the Confederation in 1803, had in the 
previous year found it necessar)- to suppress its 
monasteries, which had fomented opposition to 
the Government. Lucerne made a strong effort 
to persuade the Federal Diet to treat this as a 
breach of the Constitu- 
tion, according to which 
all religions were to be 
respected ; and Aargau, 
although many of the 
Catholic inhabitants were 
in favour of the suppres- 
sion, only escaped stronger 
measures by consenting 
to restore some of the 
monasteries. This busi- 
ness, which was not 
finally settled till 1843, 
embittered the feeling 
between the two cantons, 
and in Switzerland 
generally. Seven 
cantons — Lucerne, 
Uri, Schwvz, Unter- 
walden, Zug, Fri- 
bourg, and Valais — 
made a formal pro- 
test against the 
decision of the Diet 
to leave Aargau 
alone ; and subse- 
quent 1 y f o r m e d 
themselves into a 
separate league, 

" for the protection 
of the Catholic reli- 
gion." This league 
was known as the 
Events now began 
iiKN. to move rapidly. In 

May, 1844, fighting 
took place in Valais, not far from the .spot 
where tourists now go to see the " Gorge of 
the Trient," and the Liberals, who had been 
in power until the previous year, ^vere 
driven out, not without bloodshed ; the leaders 
only escaping by swimming the Rhone. 
About the same time Lucerne called in the 
Jesuits to direct education in the canton. 
There has alwavs been in Switzerland a good 
deal of suspicion of this order, who have 
been, rightly or wrongly, believed to exercise a 
considerable underhand influence in politics ; 



indeed; the recent conflict in Valais was thought 
to have been instigated by them ; and though 
they already had a footing in some cantons, 
their introduction into what was at this time the 
leading State of the Federation was viewed with 
alarm, even by many Catholics and Conserva- 
tives ; \vhile it grievously offended all the 
cantons in which there was a Liberal majority. 
Matters were not improved when the Lucerne 
Government seized and imprisoned its leading 
opponents. In the following winter and spring 
armed bands of irresponsible volunteers from 
Aargau, Bern, and other cantons, with some 
exiles from Lucerne, made attempts to invade 
that State. lu the second and more serious of 
these 3,600 men, under 
Colonel Ochsenbein 
(who, a year or two 
later, was President of 
the Diet), succeeded, 
on March 31st, 1845, 
in getting within a 
few miles of the city 
of Lucerne, but were 
beaten back by the 
cantonal troops, with 
a loss of 140 killed and 
1, 800 prisoners. Here- 
in they got no more 
than they deserved ; 
but the Lucerne 
Government put it- 
self in the wrong by 

the extreme severity, amounting to a Reign of 
Terror, with which it now proceeded to treat 
its opponents, and by the undisguised manner 
in which it promoted the organisation of the 
separate league. The Government also began 
to intrigue with foreign powers, especially France 
and Austria, obtaining arms from the former and 
money from the latter. Three thousand muskets 
w'ith ammunition which the Austrians attempted 
to forward from Milan, were impounded by the 
authorities of Canton Ticino ; and so audacious 
were the Lucerne Government grown, that they 
actually complained of this as a violation of 
State rights. 

It was obvious that the remaining fifteen 
cantons, comprising nearlv five-sixths of the 
whole population, could not long tolerate the 
presence of this hostile league in their midst. A 
glance at the map will show that of the seven 
cantons composing it, one, Fribourg, lies apart, 
while the others stretch continuousl}' from 
the extreme south-west of Switzerland, near 


Chamonix, away to the Lake of Zurich. Not 
only do they divide the Confederation almost in 
two, but they hold three out of the five main 
roads which lead through Switzerland into Italy 
including the two which at that time were, and 
probably still are, by far the most frequented — 
the Simplon and the St. Gothard. Moreover, 
the attitude of the Great Powers showed plainly 
that the very existence of Switzerland as a 
separate and independent nation was at stake. 
None ot the Continental Governments had any 
love for the little State, which, besides showing 
that men could live and thrive under a re- 
publican constitution, was always ready to offer 
shelter to those of their subjects whose political 

views made residence 
in their native 
countries unsafe. Ac- 
cordingly, we find the 
Protestant King of 
Prussia no less anxious 
than the Protestant 
M. Guizot, Minister 
of Louis Philippe, for 
the success of the 
Catholic Sonderbund; 
while Austria and 
Sardinia, who a few 
months later were to 
be at each other's 
throat, agreed at least 
in sending help to 
The task of the loyal cantons was not easy. 
In several of them parties were very evenly 
divided. The only central authority at this 
time consisted of the Federal Diet, in which 
every canton, no matter what its size, had an 
equal representation, while the members were 
only deputies, bound to vote as the majoritv of 
their State directed them. The important 
canton of St. Gallen, the fifth in numbers, and 
one of the wealthiest, was long in deciding. The 
Catholics form about three-fifths of the population 
there, and it was not till May, 1847, that the 
local elections resulted in a Liberal majoritv, and 
consequently the return of a Liberal member to 
the Diet. On July 20th the Diet was at last able 
to pass a resolution calling upon the Sonderbund 
to dissolve itself, as being in contravention of the 
Federal Constitution. The next three months 
were spent in efforts to bring this about peace- 
ablv, but the leaders had gone too far to retreat. 
They relied, also, not merely on the intervention 
of the Great Powers, but on their OAvn favourable 



position in a district almost inaccessible from 
most sides, on the ancient reputation of the 
so-called " Forest Cantons " — Schwyz, Uri, 
Unterwalden, and Lucerne, which had been 
the original cradle of Swiss liberty. 


On October 2Qth the Sonderbund deputies 
offered to dissolve their league, but only on 
conditions which were equivalent to a concession 
by the other side of all the claims to assert which 
the league had been formed, and on the rejection 
of these terms by the majority, the}- left the 
Diet, Bernard Me3'er, the deputy from Lucerne, 
calling upon God to decide between them. " You 
had better not speak of God," exclaimed the 
deputy from Catholic Solothurn ; " this business 
is not His, but the Devil's work." On Novem- 
ber 4 the Diet finall}' resolved that the Sonder- 
bund be put down by force of arms, that the 
frontiers of the seceding cantons be occupied, 
and all intercourse with them be broken off. 

The command of the Federal forces had been 
entrusted to Colonel William Henr}-^ Dufour, of 
Geneva. Switzerland possesses no standing 
army ; but every able-bodied man goes through 
military training, and there is a permanent staff 
of superior officers, on which Dufour held the 
post of Quartermaster-General. He Avas now 
sixty years old ; and though in his youth he had 
served in the French army during all the time of 
Napoleon's great campaigns, and risen to the 
rank of captain, he had seen no active service, 
having passed those stirring years as an engineer- 
officer in the island of Corfu, which for most of 
the time was blockaded by the English fieet. 
When Geneva became part of Switzerland, in 
181 5, he transferred his services to the Con- 
federation, and gained a considerable reputation 
as a student and teacher 
of military science. He 
was also at the head of 
the Commission which 
from 1833 onwards was 
engaged in the produc- 
tion of the finest map of 
an}' country which up 
till then had existed — 
Ordnance Map of Swit- 
zerland. Only a few days be- 
fore he had remarked to one 
of his officers that it was lucky 
for them both that their duties 
would prevent them from 
taking an active part in the 
conflict ! As the result showed, 
no better man could have been 
chosen. On October 25th he 
received the rank of General, 
and took the oath of office as 
Commander-in-Chief. In a 
few days he had under his 
a force of nearly 100,000 men and 174 


find a 

Sonderbund leaders had been unable to 
commander among the citizens of the 

seceding cantons. Their choice finally fell 
upon Colonel Ulrich Salis-Soglio, of Chur in 
Graubiinden. Like Dufour, he was an elderly 
man, but had had the advantage of actual 
military experience. He had served in the 
Bavarian army during the Leipzig campaign, 
and had distinguished himself at the battle of 
Hanau. For twenty-five years he had been an 
officer in the Swiss regiment in the Dutch 
service. He is described as a man of charming 
manners and chivalrous courage ; but by nc> 



means Dufour's equal as a strategist. Curiously 
enough he was a Protestant. The Sonderbund 
forces amounted in all to about 78^000 men 
and 72 guns. He commanded only the forces 
of the "Forest Cantons" and Zug. General 
Maillardoz commanded in Fribourg, General 
Kalbermatten in Valais. 

Dufour's first care was to secure himself from 
attack in the rear by subduing Fribourg, which, 
as we have said, is separated by the cantons of 
Bern and' Vaud from the rest of those com- 
posing the Sonderbund. His strategy for this 
purpose was simple, but effective. The town of 
Fribourg is not more than sixteen or seventeen 
miles from Bern, in a westerly direction. It was 
strongly fortified, and defended by a force of 

his first division, under Colonel Rilliet, to 
advance in three brigades from Vevey, Moudon, 
and Payerne, in Canton Vaud, with instructions 
to reach Matran, some four miles south-west of 
Fribourg, on November 12th. This manoeuvre 
was executed punctually. At the same time 
Colonel Burckhardt's division, which had been 
stationed in Canton Bern, instead of advancing 
directly upon Fribourg, made a night-march to 
the right, and took up a position about the 
same distance north-west of the town. Lastly, 
Colonel Ochsenbein was directed to make a 
demonstration on the side of Bern, so as to 
draw off the attention of the defenders from 
the movements on the west and north, and at 
the same time to watch the approaches from 

"major scherrer seized the colours" (/. 144). 

from 12,000 to 15,000 men. The defenders 
naturally expected that the attack would come 
from the direction of the Federal capital, and 
they had made their arrangements to resist it 
on that side by throwing up batteries and 
blocking the roads with trees. Dufour caused 

the south. These dispositions were all so 
accurately carried out that on the morning or 
November 13th Dufour was able to send a missive 
to the mayor of Fribourg, pointing out that his 
city was surrounded by superior forces — they 
were from 25,000 to 30,000 men, with sixty 



guns — and that under the circumstances he 
could surrender without discredit. The authori- 
ties of the citv !-a\v the force of his arguments, 
and agreed to an armistice for twenty-four 
hours ; and on the following day a capitulation 
was signed, the first article of which bound 
Fribourg to leave the Sonderbund forthwith. 
This success was not quite bloodless, for on the 
afternoon of the 13th some of the outposts of 
the first division who were stationed in a wood 
on the west of a town, and had not heard of the 
armistice, made, under some misconception, an 
attack upon a redoubt which was close in front 
of them. The artillery on both sides came into 
action, and the Federal troops lost seven killed 
and fifty wounded. 

The fall of Fribourg, says Dufour, fell like a 
thunderclap on the Sonderbund, and astonished 
the rest of Fiurope. His own task became much 
easier, owing to the spirit of cheerfulness and 
unanimity which now took the place of the 
indecision and even reluctance which had been 
felt in many quarters. He lost no time in 
grappling with the more arduous part of his 
work — the subjection of Lucerne. Hitherto he 
had given strict orders to his subordinate com- 
manders that they were to act entirely on the 
defensive, and his orders had been obeyed, 
though to do so must have required some self- 
restraint on the part of those officers. For the 
Sonderbund forces were by no means inactive. 
The canton of Aargau runs down in a long 
tongue between Lucerne and Zug, forming the 
district known as the Freiamt. At the northern 
end of this tongue, where it widens out to the 
full breadth of the canton, is the village of 
Muri, where one of the suppressed monasteries 
had been situated. Perhaps the Sonderbund 
expected to find some sympathisers in that 
district. At all eVents, on November 12th a 
strong force, in two columns, under General 
Salis and his Chief of the StaflF, Colonel Elgger, 
respectivel}', entered Aargau, with the intention 
of marching by different routes upon Aluri. 
The General, starting from Gislikon, entered 
the Freiamt at its southernmost point ; while 
Elgger, keeping within the territor}' of Lucerne, 
was to take a parallel line and approach Muri 
from the south-west. It was a foggy day, and 
the two columns, separated by a range of lofty 
hills, completely lost touch of each other. In 
the afternoon, Salis made an attempt to destroy 
a bridge which the Federal engineers had 
thrown over the river Reuss, to connect Ziirich 
with Aargau. But he was met with a stout 

resistance, and compelled to retire. Near IMuri 
he again fell in with troops from St. Gallen and 
Appenzell, who received him with a vigorous 
fire, and he found nothing to do but return to 
his starting-point. Colonel Elgger was at first 
more fortunate, and drove the Aargau troops 
back with some loss. His own son, who was 
acting as his aide-de-camp, got a bullet in his 
head, but lived to edit the Swiss Military 
Gazette thirty years later. Presently an order 
to the artillery to retire in order to take up a 
better position, caused a panic among some 
troops from Valais, who probably did not under- 
stand the words, anr' >nly saw the movement. 
They fled, and Elgger, having lost a part of his 
force and hearing the sound of Salis' guns 
grow fainter and fainter, had ntjthing to do but 
to withdraw. A third column, which was to 
have invaded Aargau further to the westward, 
succeeded in surprising the Federal outposts 
and bombarding an unfortified village ; but did 
not wait for the arrival of the Aargau battalions, 
which hastened up at the summons of the 

In the south, where the Fedei il strength was 
less, matters for a few days looked more pro- 
mising for the Sonderbund. On November 17th 
a body of 2000 men, with four guns, crossed the 
St. Gotthard Pass in a storm of wind and snow, 
and fell upon Airolo. The Ticino troops, who 
were holding that place, 2700 strong, hardly 
expected a visit in such weather, and allowed 
themselves to be surprised. Before the}' knew 
what was happening, the village was surrounded 
by the riflemen of Uri, and cannon-balls were 
crashing through the snow-covered roofs. They 
fled in disorder to Bellinzona, with a loss of six 
killed and thirty wounded, leaving weapons, 
ammunition, baggage, even their colonel's de- 
spatch-boxes and dressing-case, in the enemy's 
hands. This was the nearest approach to 
success which the Sonderbund had. It was 
hoped that Ticino, being a Catholic canton, at 
least a portion of the population might welcome 
the invaders ; but they received no encourage- 
ment, and in a few days the approach of the 
Federal army to Lucerne rendered their retreat 

For Dufour did not let the grass grow under 
his feet. Two days after the capitulation of 
Fribourg had been signed, his head-quarters were 
at Aarau, the capital of Aargau, and all his 
dispositions made for striking the decisive 
bloAv. Lucerne is very well situated for defence 
against an enemy approaching from the north. 



The stream of the Reuss, flowing out of the lake 
towards the north-west, presently sweeps round 
to the north-east. Just at the angle the smaller 
River Emme joines it from the south-west, so 
that a continuovis obstacle is offered to an 
attacking force. Between the Reuss and the 
Kussnacht arm of the lake (which washes the 
foot of the Rigi) is a range of lofty wooded hills 
called the Rooterberg, which continue almost 
to the Lake of Zug ; and in the other direction, 
a similar line of hills, cut by deep gorges, runs 
parallel to the Emme. It was on this latter 
side that the ill-starred attempt of the Free 
Corps had been made 
in 1845. Dufour deter- 
mined on this occa- 
sion to approach from 
the other direction, 
along the line of the 
Reuss, and between 
that river and the 
Rooterberg. It was a 
hazardous operation : 
in his own words, 
" taking the bull by 
the horns." Gislikon, 
the point where the 
main road crosses the 
river, while that on 
the right bank comes 
close to it, was strongly 
fortified ; and the 
Rooterberg afforded 
an admirable position 
for sharpshooters and 
artillery. But by ad- 
vancing from this side 
he would, if success- 
ful, separate Lucerne and Schwyz, and would 
strike at the heart of the secession. Therefore, 
while ordering all the five divisions which he 
intended to emplo}-, to converge by various 
roads on Lucerne, from east, north, and west, 
he resolved to make his main attack with the 
fourth and fifth, under Colonels Ziegler and 
Gmiir. Of these, the former was at present 
quartered in Aarau, the latter between the 
Reuss and the Lake of Zurich. 

The attack was fixed for November 23rd. Two 
days before, the little canton of Zug, which had 
entered the Sonderbund somewhat reluctantly, 
seeing that further resistance was useless, capitu- 
lated, thereby relieving Dufour of anxiety for his 
left flank. On the 22nd the General issued a 
proclamation to his troops, reminding them that 

they were performing a duty to their countr}-, 
and bidding them lay aside all feeling of hostility 
as soon as the victory was won. They were 
specially enjoined to respect all churches and 
buildings used in the service of religion, and to 
see that no injury was done to non-combatants 
or to private property. 

That evening Colonel Ziegler's division 
bivouacked in the " Freiamt," right up to the 
frontier of Lucerne. It was a clear night, and 
round the Lake of Zug they could see the watch- 
fires of the fifth division, vrhich was now occupy- 
ing that canton. In the early morning of the 

23 rd the Aargau 
engineers threw a 
bridge of boats over 
the Reuss at Sins, 
another being placed 
a couple of miles 
higher up, at Ober- 
riiti. Ziegler, with 
two brigades of his 
division, under 
Colonels Egloff and 
Konig, crossed to the 
right bank, and came 
into touch with 
Colonel Gmiir and 
the fifth division, 
advancing from the 
Lake of Zug. The 
third brigade, under 
Colonel Miiller, was 
to remain on the left 
bank, and attack Gis- 
likon from the direc- 
tion of Klein Dietwyl. 
It should have acted 
in conjunction with the third division, under 
Donatz, which occupied the next place to the 
westward, but bad roads hindered that com- 
mander from arriving in time to take part in the 
main action. About nine in the morning the 
batteries of Gislikon opened fire upon Miiller's 
brigade, compelling it to retire for a time. One of 
the first shots killed Captain Buk, a refugee from 
Lucerne, who was marching with the column. 
Colonel Ziegler, meanwhile, was making progress 
on the other side of the Reuss. In spite of the 
fire from the Rooterberg, and from the Lucerne 
artillery in front of the village of Honau, he 
pressed on, and presently his guns coming into 
action caused the enemy's batteries to retire. 
They made a short stand in Honau, but were 
soon forced back upon Gislikon, where regular 



earthworks had been thrown up. Here they 
made a resolute defence, the battery under 
Captain Mazzola specially distinguishing itself. 
On the other side, Rust's battery (from Solo- 
thurn) galloped through Honau, leaving the 
infantry behind, and took up its position in an 
orchard, five hundred paces — this was before the 
days of rifled cannon — from the earthworks. Its 
first shot killed and wounded five men in Hegi's 
company, which retired, leaving Mazzola's left 
flank uncovered. Mazzola, however, literally 
" stuck to his guns," though the artillery on the 
further side of the Reuss was now playing upon 
him, and presently compelled Rust to retire 
behind the fighting line, barely saving his guns 
from capture by the Lucerne chnssciirs. A 
plucky action on the part of one of his sub- 
ordinates is recorded. Just after the Solothurn 
guns had retired, a body of troops was seen in 
the spot they had occupied. In the smoke and 
haze of the November day, it was not certain 
■whether they were friend or foe. Corporal 
PfiflFer asked his captain's permission to go and 
ascertain, which Mazzola willingly gave. Pfiffer 
left the battery, and went forward till he could 
see the others clearly ; then, waving his sword, 
:ried : " Fire, Captain ; it is the enemy ! " and 
.nade his way back. General Salis, who had 
taken up his position in the battery, pressed 
a piece of gold into his hand ; but the sturdy 
Swiss rejected it, saying : " No need for that, 
General ; I only did my duty." The narrator 
of this story, himself a bitter partisan on the 
Catholic side, adds that Pfiffer was a well-known 
adherent of the Liberals. Here, as later in the 
American Civil War, when hostilities had once 
begun, men put the defence of their homes first, 
and let their private opinions wait for quieter 

The troops whose identity Corporal Pfiffer had 
ascertained were some battalions of Egloff's and 
Konig's brigades. These were Appenzellers 
under Benziger, and Aargauers under Hausler. 
The former could not face the storm of grape 
with which they were received, and took shelter 
in some gravel-pits. Hausler's men, with whom 
the Brigadier-Colonel Egloff was himself riding, 
began in their turn to waver. At this moment 
Major Scherrer, whose own battalion was also un- 
steady, seized the colours, and fi.xing them into 
the ground, cried out : " Switzers, do you know 
what that means?" Thus encouraged, Hausler's 
men held their ground, ajid, presently, through 
the personal efforts of Egloff and his staff, the 
■fugitives were rallied, and the line restored. 

Meanwhile, the Lucerne and Unterwaiden com- 
panies had pressed too far in the direction of the 
Rooterberg, allowing the Federal skirmishers to 
penetrate between them and the artillery, so 
that the earthworks were denuded of all covering 
infantry. Egloff at once ordered up three 
batteries, and under the fire of these, combined 
with that from others on the other bank, the 
intrepid Mazzola, after nearly an hour's duel 
between his one batter}' and five or six of the 
enemy's, was compelled to withdraw, and 
abandon Gislikon. General Salis, too, who had 
taken up his position in the battery, had been 
severely wounded in the temple by a grape- 
shot, though he made light of his wound, and 
refused to leave the fight. 

Konig's brigade, meanwhile, to which had 
been assigned the duty of clearing the west 
slopes of the Rooterberg and sheltering Egloff's 
left flank, had met with a sudden resistance. 
Again and again they had to fall back, until 
Ziegler himself, dismovmting and leading the 
right wing, succeeded in pressing the enemy so 
far up the hill as to secure Egloff from a flank 
attack, and set part of his own main force to 
operate against Mazzola. Konig, with the left 
wing, attempted to force the position of Michels- 
kappel, on the crest of the ridge, but could not 
succeed in dislodging the troops from Schwyz 
w^ho held it. Gmiir's division, meanwhile, had 
captured Mej'erskappel, on the eastern side of 
the ridge, and was advancing upon Lucerne by 
the road between the hills and the lake. 

But the retreat from Gislikon had decided the 
battle. At 3 p.m. General Salis gave the order 
to retire upon Ebikon, a village not more than 
three miles from Lucerne. In the city itself men 
had been listening all da}- long, with painful 
anxiety, to the thunder of the cannon, but no 
news of the fight had reached them. At four, 
arrived an orderly from the General, bringing a 
message couched in the form usual with defeated 
commanders, to the effect that he had been 
compelled to retire temporarily upon Ebikon, 
but hoped to maintain his ground there for a 
time. He added, however, that the loss of 
Gislikon had rendered the position of Lucerne 
very precarious. A steamer had been in readi- 
ness all day, and on the receipt of this news, the 
Council-of-War, with Siegwart and Meyer at its 
head, went on board, taking the military treasury 
and all documents, papers, etc., with them, and 
steamed up the lake to Fliielen, leaving orders 
to General Salis to arrange for an armistice. 
The General himself arrived about 8 p.m., 



suffering from his wound, and after giving the 
requisite instructions, departed to Unterwalden. 
As an old soldier, he doubtless knew that further 
resistance meant useless bloodshed. Colonel 
Elgger, his Chief of the Staff, had been for two 
days maintaining a stout resistance in the Valley 
of Entlebuch, west of the city, to the seventh 

the Federal troops were allowed to enter peace- 
ably, and the Federal flag was displayed, no 
warlike measures would be taken. 

Accordingly, at midday on the 24th, the 
Federal forces marched into Lucerne by all the 
gates. Twenty days had finished the civil war. 
The total losses were, on the Federal side, 60 

rust's battery galloped through honau " {/. 144). 

Federal division, under Colonel Ochsenbein — 
who had his former defeat on almost the same 
ground to avenge — and had hastened back to 
Lucerne, when night put an end to further 
fighting on the 23rd. He was at first in favgur 
of defending the city ; but was soon convinced 
of the hopelessness of the situation, and agreed 
to communicate with Dufour. At 9 in the 
morning of the 24th came the reply that it was 
too late to countermand the advance, but that it 


killed and 386 wounded ; on that of the Son- 
derbund, 36 and 1 19. Dufour attributes the 
smallness of these figures to the fact that the 
fighting took place in a broken and thickly- 
wooded country, where cover was plentiful. 
Something was, no doubt, also due to the 
inexperience of the gunners. 

Great care was taken to prevent any excesses 
on the part of the victors. The Bern division, 
between whom and Lucerne bitter feelings had 



existed ever since 1845, was not allowed to take 
part in the entry into the city, but had to 
remain, by Colonel Ochsenbein's orders, in the 
suburbs. Dufour ordered a joint *' Church- 
parade " to be held, the Catholic troops attend- 
ing Mass in the chief church of Lucerne, while 
a service was held in the open-air for the Pro- 
testants. Subsequently he wrote, " The troops 
on both sides showed by their conduct that 
every Swiss is a born soldier."' 

The Confederation had had a narrow escape. 
On the day when war had been declared, 
M. Guizot had, on behalf of France, proposed to 
the other Great Powers that a joint note should 
be sent to the Swiss Diet calling upon them to 
submit the questions at issue to foreign arbi- 
tration. As it was hardly doubtful that the 
proposal would be rejected, this meant armed 
intervention, with the certainty of an ultimate 
partition of Switzerland. The Continental 
Powers were ready enough, but Lord Palmerston, 

then English Foreign Secretar}-, who had. as he 
said, "no wish to see Switzerland made a Poland 
of," managed, by objections and suggestions, ta 
postpone the delivery of the note till November 
30th. By that time the Diet was able to reply 
that there was no longer an}- Sonderbund. In 
the course of the following year, Prussia, Austria, 
and France had matters enough of their own to 
attend to ; and the Swiss were able to proceed 
unmolested with the revision of their Constitu- 
tion into the form under which the country has 
prospered ever since. Formerly a Confederation 
of States, they have since 1848 been a Con- 
federated State. 

The conflict left — except, perhaps, among a 
few of the Sonderbund leaders — no ill-feeling 
behind. Some years later Dufour could write : 
" The citizens of the old cantons (t'.c. the Forest 
Cantons) nearly all have pipes with m}- picture 
on them, and call me ' Our little Dufour.' " His 
long and useful life ended in 1875. 




HBOUT ten miles from the Buffalo river, 
which forms the eastern frontier of 
Natal, rises conspicuous a tall, rocky, 
precipitous hill, called in the language 
of the natives " Insandhlwana," or "The place 
of the little hand," from a fancied resemblance 
in its form to an outstretched hand. Near this 
hill was fought, on the 22nd January, 1879, 
one of the most desperate actions ever en- 
gaged in under the British flag. Here, over- 
whelmed by numbers, an English force suffered 
a complete and most disastrous defeat, and here, 
bravely facing inevitable overthrow and death, 
English soldiers sternly answered to the call of 
duty and fell with honour, grimly defiant to 
the last. 

Of the actual details of the battle there are 
no complete records. The men who could have 
furnished them lie under the shade of the hill, 
and the veldt grass grows green over their silent 
and glorious bed. But sufficient is known, as 
much from the subsequent testimony of their 
gallant foes as from the words of the few sur- 
vivors of the fatal field, to tell us how deter- 
mined, though unavailing, was the courage, how 
great the self-abnegation, of the warriors who 
then maintained the honour of our country. 

Let us tell the story as far as it can be gathered, 
and if it ends with no shout of victory, at least 
we can impress on our minds that the heroic 
dead left a memory of which we may be sadly 
proud, and that they were not found wanting 
in carrying on the noblest traditions of the 
English people. 

The Zulu kingdom was a military power 
that, under a .line of despotic and warlike 
sovereigns, had long been a standing menace to 
the English colon}^ of Natal and to the Trans- 
vaal, the Dutch Republic, which in 1878 was 
annexed by England. The first king of Zulu- 
land, Chaka, had so organised his realm that it 

was always ready for war at short notice, and 
his system was maintained by his successors 
— Dingaan, Panda, and finally Cetewavo, who 
became monarch in 1872. Every able-bodied 
Zulu was enrolled in one or other of the king's 
regiments, and no one was allowed to marry 
without the king's permission. The permission 
to marr}^ was generally given as a mark of favour 
to a whole regiment at once for long or good 
service, particularly if it had " bathed " its 
assegais — or, in other words, had covered them 
with blood in conflict. The discipline of the 
Zulu army was the sternest. Implicit obedience 
was required, and every fault was punished with 
death. Cowardice was unknown, for the coward 
dare not meet the vengeance and wrath of his 
king. The saying of each man was, " I am the 
king's ox'' — meaning, I accept life or death as 
the king may award, and my only business is 
to carry out his orders without question. The 
burden of one of their war-songs was, " If I go 
back I am killed ; if I go on I am killed. It is 
better to go on." With such feelings, added to 
their natural fierceness and hardihood, influencing 
a peculiarly powerful and athletic race of men, 
it may be conceived how formidable was the 
Zulu array, and with how much truth it came to 
be called " a very perfect man-slaying machine." 
The war-dress worn bv the Zulu soldiers made 
them striking and alarming-looking figures. On 
the head of each man was a plume of feathers, 
or sometimes a single beautiful feather, taken 
from the bell crane, rising a good two feet into 
the air. Round his waist hung a kilt of white 
oxtails, and beneath his right knee and shoulder 
were small circles of white goat's hair. For the 
rest, he was naked ; unless he was a chief, in 
which case he wore a leopard's-skin kaross, or 
cloak, as an emblem of authority. In his left 
hand he carried a fighting shield made of ox- 
hide, of which the colour varied according to 



the regiment to which he belonged. In his 
right hand he held his great broad-bladed 
" bangwan," or stabbing assegai. He also had 
three lighter and smaller assegais for throwing 
as javelins, and a " knobkerrie," or club, made of 
hard " umzimbete " wood. Many of them had 
rifles, but very few were good shots, and their 
fire only became formidable when they had a 
broad mark, like a body of men, to aim at. 

The Zulu tactics were always the same. They 
always tried to attack in a half-circle^ throwing 
forward both flanks 
of their fighting 
force, like two 
horns, which strove 
to encircle and 
threaten the rear 
of their enemy, 
while their centre, 
in successive u^aves 
of men, charged to 
their front with 
irresistible deter- 

It has been said 
that the warlike 
Zulu kingdom had 
been a standing 
menace for years to 
the European colo- 
nies on its frontier. 
Except in the towns 
these colonies were 
only occupied by 
farmers, whose soli- 
tary homesteads 
were scattered over 
the country at wide 
distances from each 
other, each Euro- 
pean's house having 

near it a small " kraal," or village, where lived the 
peaceful and unwarlike Kaffirs who formed the 
native population. In days not long gone by, 
the first settlers had frequently been obliged to 
fight for their lives, and the Dutch names of 
such places as " Weenen " (weeping) kept alive 
the memory of old Zulu incursions. Many were 
the alarms which spread through the country 
from time to time lest these incursions should 
be renewed, and many were the frontier farms 
which had been, in consequence, deserted by 
their owners. Causes of dispute had arisen, 
moreover, with Cetewayo, and the savage poten- 
tate had showed that war would be far from 


unwelcome to him. The English Governor and 
High Commissioner in South Africa in 1878 was 
Sir Bartle Frere, one of the ablest of the many 
able politicians and administrators who have 
been produced by our Indian Empire, and he 
did all in his power to induce the Zulu king to 
come to such terms as might secure the con- 
tinuance of peace — to no purpose. Finally, an 
ultimatum was sent to Cetewayo, and he was 
warned that if it was not complied with before 
the nth January, 1879, operations against him 

would be at once 

It had long been 
foreseen in Natal 
that war was almost 
inevitable, and all 
the available troops 
had been massed 
along the frontier, 
under the command 
of Lieutenant- 

General Lord 
Chelmsford, K.C.B. 
The whole re- 
sources of the 
colony had been 
organised and pre- 
pared for a cam- 
paign. There were 
seven regiments of 
English regular in- 
fantry, a naval 
brigade, seventeen 
guns and a rocket 
battery Royal Ar- 
tillery, and two com- 
panies Royal Engi- 
neers. There was 
no regular cavalry, 
but there were two 
squadrons of mounted infantry, and nearly 800 
colonial volunteers and police, besides more than 
300 native Basuto horse. There was also a native 
contingent, about Q,ooo strong. The whole 
amounted to 6,63q Imperial and colonial troops, 
9,0^; native contingent, with 802 conductors 
and drivers in charge of nearly 700 waggons, 
forming the transport train. 

The period alloAved to Cetewayo for reply to 
the ultimatum having expired, a declaration of 
war was made by Sir Bartle Frere, who then 
placed m the hands of Lord Chelmsford the 
further enforcement of all demands. 

Lord Chelmsford's army as detailed above was 

\ Photo. : Crc 



divided into five columns, which were to march 
into Zululand at different points, and to move 
on Ulundi, Cetewayo's capital, where they were 
expected to be able to concentrate victoriously. 
For our present purpose we need only consider 

It was under the immediate command of Colonel 
Glyn, C.B., and was formed by six guns, R.A., 
one squadron mounted infantry, the 1st battalion 
24th Regiment, the 2nd battalion 24th Regi- 
ment, about 200 Natal volunteers, 150 Natal 
police, three battalions of the native contingent, 
and some native pioneers. This force crossed 
the Buffalo river on the nth of January, and 


the 2nd and 3rd columns, as the others were in no 
way involved in the operations which led to the 
battle of Insandhlwana. The 2nd column, under 
Colonel Durnford, R.E., was almost entirely 
composed of natives, and was, in the first in- 
stance, more intended to be used as support and 
communication between the i stand 3rd columns 
than for any other purpose. The 3rd column 
was the strongest and most important, and to it 
Lord Chelmsford attached himself and his staff. 

encamped on the further side. The rainy season 
was not 3'et over, and not only was there some 
difficulty and even danger in crossing the flooded 
river, but the broken countrj- in front r,f the 
column was nearly impassable from swamps and 
heavy ground, so that much road-making had to 
be undertaken to enable the guns and transport 
to push forward. 

A successful attack was made on the 12th 



against the Isipezi Hill, but the stubborn resist- 
ance that was then made by the induna, or chief, 
Sirayo and his followers showed that no final 
success was to be hoped for except at the cost 
of hard fighting. Several long reconnaissances 
were made by the mounted men into Zululand, 
and shots were exchanged with detached parties 
of the enemy, but there was nothing to show 
how fearful a storm was gathering in the horizon 
and was nearly ready to burst. 

By the 20th of January all the first difficulties 
had been overcome, and the 3rd column was 
encamped at the foot of the Insandhlwana Hill. 
The position of the camp was thus described : — 
" We had a small ' kopjie ' (stony hillock) on the 
right of our road, and then about fifty yards to 
our left rises abruptly the Insandhlwana moun- 
tain, entirely unapproachable from the three 
sides nearest to us, but on the further — viz., 
that to the north — it slopes more gradually down, 
and it is there connected with the large range of 
hills on our left by another broad neck of land. 
We just crossed over the bend, then turned 
sharp to the left, and placed our camp facing 
the valley, with the eastern precipitous side of 
the mountain behind us, leaving about a mile 
of open country between our left flank and 
the hills on our left, the right of the camp 
extending across the neck of land we had just 
come over, and resting on the base of the kopjie 
before mentioned." 

The camp was a martial and picturesque sight 
in the glow of the African sunset. Here were 
the tents of the Queen's Infantry, the men 
busy cleaning their arms and cooking their 
rations, there the long lines of picqueted horses, 
there the gun-park, there the swart native con- 
tingent, as savage-looking as the foe that they 
had come to fight, while the flag of England 
waved over the marquee of the general, speak- 
ing pride and defiance to all assailants. There 
was one fatal mistake, however. The waggons, 
which should have been ranged end to end in 
front of or round the camp, in the fashion called 
in Africa a " laager," forming a defensible bar- 
ricade against sudden assault, were drawn up 
uselesslv in line behind the camp, and many a 
veteran of the old colonial wars saw with appre- 
hension that old lessons were neglected, and 
that undue confidence had taken the place of 
the caution taught by experience. 

It was known that, at about twelve miles from 
Insandhlwana, there was, on the Inhlazatye 
range of hills, the stronghold of a chief called 
Matyana ; and on the 21st two separate parties 

were despatched from the camp at an early hour 
to reconnoitre and, if possible, attack the place. 
One of these parties consisted entirely of mounted 
men — Natal volunteers and police — under Major 
Dartnell, the other of two battalions of the native 
contingent under Commandant Lonsdale. Major 
Dartnell, the head of the police, was an experi- 
enced soldier, who had served with the highest 
credit in the English army, and had taken part 
in several campaigns. Commandant Lonsdale 
was also an old soldier of proved knowledge and 
judgment. Major Dartnell's force encountered 
Matyana's men about ten o'clock in the morning, 
and, though the enemy appeared anxious to 
fight, it was not considered prudent to engage 
them without supports. The Zulus occupied a 
rugged " kloof," or cleft in the hills ; and when- 
ever the mounted men approached they sallied 
out in large numbers. Mr. Mansel, of the police, 
a most daring officer, was sent forward with a 
small body to try to make them show their force, 
and succeeded in this, as the Zulus advanced to 
attack, throwing forward their two " horns " and 
trying to surround Major Dartnell. The volun- 
teers and police then retired before superior 
numbers, and joined Commandant Lonsdale's 
men about three miles from the kloof. 

The native contingent had shown on several 
occasions that they were subject to panics, and 
were not to be depended upon ; so Major 
Dartnell decided that he and Lonsdale would 
bivouac for the night where they were, and sent 
a messenger to Lord Chelmsford asking for the 
assistance of some regular infantry to enable 
them to storm Matyana's position. 

In the middle of the night Dartnell's com- 
munication was received, and, as it told of the 
enemy being in far greater numbers on the 
Inhlazatye hills than had been supposed, the 
general considered that an overwhelming strength 
should be brought against them, and that an 
opportvmity was presented of striking a paralys- 
ing blow against an important part of the Zulu 
army. He therefore ordered the 2nd battalion 
24th Regiment, the mounted infantr}', and four 
guns to be put under arms at once in readiness 
to march, and, placing himself at their head, he 
moved with the first faint grey of morning to 
join Major Dai'tnell. As this detachment would 
considerably weaken the camp. Lord Chelmsford 
at the same time sent orders to Colonel Durnford 
— who, with a portion of the 2nd column, was 
now near Rorke's Drift — telling him to move at 
once to Insandhlwana with the rocket batterj' 
and the Basuto horse. 



Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine, of the 24th Regi- 
ment, was left in command of the camp. He 
had with him six companies of the 24th, two 
guns R.A., about eighty mounted men, includ- 
ing mounted infantr}-, police, and volunteers, 
and four companies of the native contingent. 
His orders were to draw in his line of defence 
and infantry outposts, but to keep his mounted 
vedettes still far advanced. 

After the departure of Lord Chelmsford with 
the detached column, nothing unusual occurred 
in the camp till between seven and eight o'clock, 
when it was reported from a picquet about 
1,500 yards to the north that a body of the 
enemy could be seen approaching from the 
north-east, and the appearance of various other 
small bodies was subsequently noticed. Then, 
in the camp, there was all the bustle of quick 
preparation for battle. Lieutenant - Colonel 
Pulleine put every available man under arms. 
The draught oxen, which had been grazing, 
Avere driven into camp and tied to the yokes ; 
the native contingent was pushed forward on 
advanced duty on the hills to the left ; the 
guns were put in position on the left of the 
camp ; the mounted men stood ready by their 
horses ; and the 24th were formed up, awaiting 
the duty which the turn of events might bring. 

About ten o'clock Colonel Durnford arrived in 
camp, and, as the senior officer, became by right 
the commander. He did not, however, take the 
dispositions out of Colonel PuUeine's hands, and 
the two officers worked cordially together. 
Colonel Durnford had served for more than six 
years in South Africa, knew the natives and 
their customs thoroughly, and, with the most 
undaunted valour, which he had proved in war 
and to which a disabled arm bore testimony, he 
combined a chivalrous and sympathetic heart 
towards all who were brought in contact with 
him, whether Europeans or natives. A hand- 
some, soldier-like man, with a long, fair mous- 
tache, he had an anxious expression of face, as 
of one who is born to misfortune. 

Repeated and more or less conflicting reports 
now came rapidly from the outposts on the left : 
*' The enemy are in force behind the hills ; " 
^' The enemy is in three columns, one moving 
to the left rear, and one towards the general ; " 
*' The enemy is retiring in all directions." The 
estimates of the enemy's strength were most 
varied, but none approximated to the real 
numbers that were threatening the doomed 
English force, and the full extent of the danger 
was not realised. 

On hearing these reports Colonel Durnford 
sent one troop of his Natal Native Horse to re- 
inforce his baggage-guard, which had not yet 
joined him, and two troops, under Captains G. 
Shepstone and Barton, to the hills on the left, 
while he himself determined to go out to the 
front with the remaining two troops, which were 
to be followed by Major Russell's rocket battery, 
escorted by a company of the native contingent. 

It is here worth while to say a word about the 
Natal Native Horse, than which no corps fought 
more loyally, bravely, and disinterestedly during 
the troubles in South Africa. They were prin- 
cipally recruited in Edendale, a Basuto agricul- 
tural settlement formed by Wesleyan missionaries, 
who had recognised that Christianity could best 
be taught to people who had given up a savage 
life, and had been trained in and appreciated 



the arts of peace. The good missionaries had 
taught the wild Basutos to build houses, to 
make waggons, and to cultivate the ground 
scientifically, and, in conjunction with these 
benefits, had inculcated the Christian's moral 
law and the Christian's sentiments. The settle- 
ment at Edendale flourished exceedingly, and 
the Basutos became not only prosperous citizens, 
but God-fearing men. When war threatened, 
they were appealed to to give their services to 
the Queen, and they eagerly responded. As 
soldiers, they were like the old Covenanters. 
Every morning they assembled round their 
head-man for prayer, during the day no troops 
were more daring and trustworthy, and at 
night, before they lay down to rest, they 
again assembled for united worship. In truth, 
they were soldiers whom any general would be 
glad to command, and disciples whom any 
religious body would be proud to claim. 

Colonel Durnford had asked Colonel Pulleine 
to let him have two companies of the 24th, but 
when it was represented that they could ill be 
spared, the request was not pressed. 

As has been said, the full amount of the 



impending danger was not realised, and there 
was no expectation of an attack on that day. As 
a precautionar}- measure, however, a company of 
the 24th, under Lieutenant Cavaye, was sent out 
as a picquet about 1,200 yards north of the camp, 
while the remainder of the troops were dis- 
missed from parade, but to remain in readiness 
to fall in at a moment's notice. 

The two troops which had been sent out under 
Shepstone and Barton had proceeded about five 
miles from the camp, when they met a large 
Zulu force on the march. Captain Shepstone at 
once ordered a retreat, and himself rode in with 
the warning that an attack was probably immi- 
nent, but the appearance of masses of the enemy 
surging over the hills had already given the 
alarm. Meantime, Colonel Durnford had, with 
two troops, moved to the front at a canter, 
followed by the rocket batter)' at a slower pace. 
After he had proceeded some miles, his advanced 
files reported an immense " impi " behind the 
hills, and almost immediately the Zulus appeared 
in force on his front and left in loose order^ ten 
or twelve deep, with heavy masses in support. 
They opened fire and advanced with the startling 
rapidity which marked all their movements. 
Colonel Durnford retired a little way behind the 
shelter of a " donga," a ravine-like crack in the 
plain. There he extended his men and com- 
menced a steady fire, but the numbers against 
him were so overwhelming that he had to con- 
tinue his retreat, only to find that the enemy 
had been beforehand, and had annihilated the 
rocket battery, slaying its commander, Major 
Russell, Avith all his gunners. Deserted by the 
escort of the native contingent, the battery had 
fought with unflinching courage, but had been 
overwhelmed by the fierce charge. Durnford, 
sorely pressed, disputed every inch of ground 
until he reached another donga, where he found 
himself in line with the camp troops, and was 
reinforced by thirty or forty Natal Volunteers, 
under Captain Bradstreet. Here his last desperate 
stand was made. 

Two companies of the 24th, under Captains 
Mostyn and Younghusband, had been pushed 
fonvard to the support of Cavaye's picquet, but 
they were too weak for the gigantic task, and all 
were driven in upon the main body. 

The situation was now this : The usual Zulu 
attack in half-circle was being made on the 
camp, while a whole Zulu regiment, the Undi, 
was pushing round the English left to gain pos- 
session of the waggon road and line of retreat 
upon Rorke's Drift. 

The two guns and the whole of the 24th were 
in line, the native contingent was on the right 
of the 24th, and then came Durnford's shattered 
and weary band. All were doing their duty 
manfully and well. The guns were in action, 
served coolly and steadily as on a home parade. 
The 24th, one of the smartest battalions in the 
service, was dealing withering volleys, and 
Basutos and Volunteers fought stubbornly for 
the homesteads of Natal. The enem}- fell in hun- 
dreds, but kept on advancing with undiminished 
resolution. Rank after rank of the foremost 
were swept away, but still others pressed for- 
ward. The air was rent with the roar of battle. 
The guns, which had been firing shell, now at 
such close quarters were pouring in case, and 
each shot of the infantry told on the dense 
masses. Even Zulu courage could not maintain 
an advance against the deadly hail, and Cete- 
wayo's chosen warriors wavered and lay down, 
seeking shelter and covering the valley in 
detached groups to the depth of three-quarters 
of a mile. It almost seemed for a space as if 
English tenacity was once again, as in the past, 
to be rewarded with victory. 

But the dire crisis of the day was at hand. 
The widespread horns of the Zulu army had 
worked their way round the flanks, and were 
even now showing themselves in rear of the 
English position. The native contingent had 
always been a broken reed upon which to lean, 
and it now broke and fled in the utmost dis- 
order, thus laving open the right and rear of the 
24th. The ammunition began to fail, and the 
Zulu opportunity had come. Nor were their 
chiefs slow to note and profit by it. Hitherto 
the attack had been made in the silence of 
perfect discipline. Now, as the iron-hearted 
warriors recovered from their momentar}- check 
they raised the ominous Zulu war-shout, and 
dashed forward in a last irresistible charge. 
They poured through the fatal gap in the line 
of defence, and in a moment the English soldiers 
Avere lost in the midst of the seething savage 

So sudden was the catastrophe, so rapid the 
charge, that but few of the English soldiers 
had time to fix their bayonets and prepare for 
the hand-to-hand struggle. Many a brave 
heart among the defenders was cold in death 
long ere this, and sadly reduced were the 
numbers that strove desperately against the 
nervous Zulu arms and the assegais thirsting for 
blood. The savage warriors closed upon the 
doomed men with a shout of " Bulala umlongo ! " 


— Kill the white man ! Then followed a scene 
of direst confusion. Horse and foot, English 
and Zulu, friend and foe, in one writhing slaugh- 
tering mass, slowly pushed through the camp 
towards the road to Rorke's drift, the road of 


to save the guns, and the mounted men who 
were yet unwounded forced their way, weapons 
in hand, through the press. But the right of 
the enemy already occupied the waggon road 
and barred the outlet. There was no safety 

retreat to safety. But of the 24th, few, if any, left 
the ground where they had fought so well. The 
battalion fell and lay by companies, surrounded 
by slain enemies. When the battle-field was 
revisited, the remains of officers and men were 
all found in the line of their last parade. No 
man had flinched, and all had died as they 
had lived, shoulder to shoulder. When all was 
lost, the artillery had limbered up and striven 



(/• 152). 

except in seeking another passage to the Buffalo 
River, and the ground to be traversed was rugged, 
boulder-strewn and broken. None but mounted 
men had escaped fi-om the precincts of the camp, 
and the ground was such that an active Zulu 
could cover it even faster than a horse. The guns 
were soon hopelessly impeded, and the drivers 
were assegaied in their saddles. The long ravine, 
which has since been called the " fugitives' 
path,'' was a scene of continuous slaughter, and 
even when the Buffalo was reached, it ran 
swift, deep and fordless, an alternation of boiling 



current and sharp rocks. Not half even of those 
who arrived on its bank succeeded in crossing. 
Many were drowned, many assegaied, some were 
shot, and the unrelenting pursuit continued 
even into Natal. The only troops which had 
maintained a semblance of cohesion were some 
of the Natal Native Horse. These gallant Basutos 
assisted many in the flight, which they covered 
as well as theycould under Captain Barton, who 
rendered essential service by checking the 
pursuit on the Natal bank of the Buffalo. 

Such a day as that of Insandhlwana could not 
pass without the performance of many deeds of 
gallantry and devotion, but the actors and spec- 
tators in too many cases were left among the 
slain, ana their voices are dumb. We know of 
the heroic death of Captain George Shepstone, 
-who, having disengaged his men, and finding that 
Colonel Durnford was still among the foe, said, 
*' I must go and see where my chief is," and 
turned his horse again into the melee, there to 
lay his body with that of his friend and leader. 
Private Wassail, of the mounted infantry, gained 
the Victoria Cross by plunging a second time 
into the torrent of the Buffalo, under a heavy 
fire, to save a wounded comrade, who would 
otherwise have been lost. Captains Melville and 
Coghill, of the 24th, who were both mounted, 
saved the Queen's colour of their regiment 
after they had fought to the last in its ranks. 
They made their way to the river, and Coghill 
managed to get to the further side. Melville 
lost his horse, and was left struggling in the 
swift current. With sublime chivalry Coghill 
rode back to his assistance, when his horse also 
was shot. Both these brave officers succeeded 
in reaching the Natal shore, but, exhausted and 
wounded, they could do no more, and were 
overtaken and killed, fighting till the fatal 
'' bangwan " did its work. 

In this terrible disaster there perished twenty- 
six imperial officers and 600 non-commissioned 
oflficers and men, while the loss of the colonial 
forces was not less severe, twenty-four oflBcers 
being among the slain. All the waggons and 
oxen, two guns, 1,200 rifles, and an immense 
quantity of ammunition and commissariat sup- 
plies, were also lost. 

Of all the regiments in the Queen's army, the 
24th has perhaps paid as high a price as any for 
the glorious legends inscribed on its colours. 
Insandhlwana was the second battle-field in 
Avhich a battalion had been practically annihilated. 
About thirty 3-ears before, at Chillianwallah, 
thirteen officers and the greater part of the non- 

commissioned officers and men had laid down their 
lives for the honour of England. Then the cheers 
of victory had been raised over the dead. The 
evening of the second fatal day in the regimental 
history closed in gloom and unrelieved sorrow. 

We must return to Lord Chelmsford and the 
column which he had led forth in the morning 
to the support of Major Dartnell. Between six 
and seven in the morning the general had joined 
the force, which had bivouacked out during 
the night, and operations against what was then 
supposed to be the main portion of the Zulu 
army were at once commenced. The mounted 
infantry were despatched to the left front to 
press the enemy seen in the distance, while the 
general with the main body and the guns, pro- 
tected on the right by the police and volunteers, 
moved up the valley against the position which 
had checked Dartnell on the previous day. 
That "kloof" Avas now found deserted, but a 
strong force was seen to be established on the 
mountain spurs. It was engaged and driven 
back with heavy loss. Everywhere the English 
troops gained ground ; everywhere the Zulus 
retired before them. But it is more than pro- 
bable that the retirement was a piece of elaborate 
strategy, intended to draw the general farther 
and farther away from his camp and thus reduce 
the force available for its defence. Whether such 
was the case or not, the result was the same, and 
at midday the general found himself twelve miles 
from Insandhlwana, looking for a spot on which 
to form a second camp. Several messengers had 
been despatched to him by Colonel Pulleine, 
telling of the threatened attack, but by fatal 
mischance none of them reached him. Between 
twelve and one reports were brought in by 
scouts that firing had been heard at Insandhl- 
wana, but when, from the top of a hill, careful 
examination had been made with a powerful 
telescope, nothing unusual could be detected, 
and, consequently, no uneasiness Avas felt. The 
presence of large bodies of Zulus on the plain 
which had been traversed in the morning was 
now announced, and Lord Chelmsford resolved 
to retrace his steps with the mounted men and 
the native contingent, leaving the artillery and 
the second battalion of the 24th in bivouac 
At four p.m., when he was within six miles of 
the camp, a solitary horseman met him, reeling 
in his saddle and riding at a foot's pace. It was 
Commandant Lonsdale, who, having been taken 
ill with fever in the morning, had sought medical 
aid. He brought the ghastly news, " The camp 
is in possession of the eneni}-." It appeared that 



when, riding in the half-lethargy of sickness, he 
was entering the camp, he was startled by a shot 
fired at him. He looked up and saw, sitting in 
and around the tents, groups of red-coats. He 
then saw a gigantic Zulu stalking out of a 
tent with a blood-smeared assegai in his hand. 
Looking more carefully, he saw that the wearers 
of the red coats were black men, and black men 
only. The real state of the case flashed upon his 
mind, and he turned and galloped off under a 
scattered fire. Providentially he was not hit, 
and was able to meet the general and prevent 
him from riding with his staff into the trap of 

Orders were at once sent to the guns and the 
24th to join the general, but it was six o'clock 
before they came. The force then collected was 
in little case for much exertion. They had 
covered nearly thirty miles under an African 
sun with only the slight supply of food which 
■each man carried in his haversack. They knew 
that a nearly equal force of their comrades had 
been destroyed, and that a victorious army was 
between them and support. English soldiers 
never lose heart, however, in the hardest straits, 
and Lord Chelmsford's men did not fail to 
respond gallantly to the call which he made for 
renewed effort. The march was resumed, and 
at nightfall they were again beneath the " little 
hand." There was no sign of life or movement, 
but the enemy might be lying hidden ready to 
break forth. Two or three rounds of shell were 

fired, but they only awoke the slumbering echoes. 
Then two companies of the 24th, under Major 
Black, ascended to the neck of ground south of 
the great hill. The enemy had gone, bearing 
with them their bloodstained plunder. 

The night had fallen, and the silence of death 
was around. There was nothing for it but to 
bivouac on the spot. No one who shared that 
bivouac will ever forget its horrors. The air 
was heavy with the scent of blood, and mangled 
corpses of English soldiers and Zulu warriors 
lay thickly around. It was well that the 
shades of night hid the blood-curdling details. 
The infantry lay down grasping their rifles, and 
the mounted men held the reins of their horses 
during the long, anxious night. Shots were 
fired and alarms spread at intervals, but it is 
doubtful whether the enemy wished to make 
any real attack. If they had, though each man 
was prepared to die in his place, the attempt 
would in all probability have been successful. 

With the earliest light of morning the retreat 
to Rorke's Drift was continued unmolested. 
Bodies of the enemy were seen on the hills 
overhanging the road, but no collisions with 
them took place. When the Buffalo River was 
reached a first gleam of encouragement and hope 
for the future came from the British flag, still 
waving over the feeble fortifications which 
Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead had so re- 
solutely made good against the long assault by 
a numerous and determined foe. 



GI\"E me iron in the men, and I shall 
not mind much" about the iron in 
the ships," said the American ad- 
miral Farragut, when some of his 
officers were discussing the changes that would 
be introduced into naval warfare by the new 
ironclad navies. And Farragut was right in 
holding that, whatever the ships might be made 
of, the most important thing was to have 
enougli " iron in the men " who worked and 
fought them. We are sometimes too apt to 
think that the power of rival fleets can be esti- 
mated by setting off their weight of guns and 
thickness of armour in two parallel columns, 
and striking a balance, as if it were an account 
in a ledger. But all naval history goes to prove 
that, within certain wide limits, the power of 
navies depends chiefly upon an element that can 
only be tested by the stress of storm and battle 
— namely, the courage, the nerve, and the 
" grit '' of their officers and men. 

No more striking proof of this was ever given 
than that which is afforded by the sea-fight of 
Lissa, the only battle between ironclads that 
has yet taken place in European waters. In 
ships, in guns, in armour the Italian fleet was 
superior to the Austrian. On paper there could 
be no doubt on which side lay the power that 
would secure, in event of war, the command oi 
the Adriatic. The war came, and its grim 
reality showed how fallacious was the comparison 
made beforehand. The object of the Italians in 
1866 was to drive the Austrians out of Venetia, 
by attacking them there while they were 
occupied elsewhere b}?- the struggle with Prussia. 
The Italian plan of campaign was to march 
against the Austrians in northern Italy, and, 
after defeating their land army, besiege Venice 
by sea and land. The fleet was to crush the 
Austrians at sea, in the early days of the war, 
so to be ready to co-operate in the operations 
against Venice. It all worked out beautifully 

on paper. But the plan was never reduced to 
practice. War was declared on June 20th, and 
four da3's later the Italian field army was defeated 
by the Austrians at Custozza. 

Nearly a month before war was declared, 
Count Persano had been placed in command 
of the Italian fleet, and ordered to prepare it 
for active operations in the Adriatic, making 
Ancona his headquarters. On June 20th, the 
day of the declaration of war, eight ships 
(including two ironclads) were at Ancona. 
Persano with the main body of the fleet, con- 
sisting of ten wooden ships and nine ironclads, 
was still at the naval arsenal of Taranto. 
Admiral Tegethoff, the Austrian commander, 
was getting his fleet ready for sea at Fasana 
and Pola, at the head of the Adriatic. He had 
taken command on the 9th of Ma}-, and ever 
since had been hard at work fitting out his ships 
and training his crews. The only effective 
portion of the fleet was a squadron of seven 
ironclads, broadside ships, with thin armour, 
and no guns of really heavy calibre. At first, 
the Austrian Admiralty suggested that the fleet 
should consist only of these ironclads and a few 
light steamers to act as scouts and despatch- 
vessels. But there were lying in the dockyard 
at Pola and in the port of Trieste an old wooden 
screw line of battle-ship, the Kaiser^ and six 
wooden frigates. Tegethoff asked for these to 
be added to his command. " Give me every 
ship you have," he said : '' you may depend on 
it I will find good use for them.'' He was 
given a free hand, and he organised his fleet 
in three divisions. The first was composed of 
seven ironclads. The second, under his friend 
Commodore Petz, consisted of the seven wooden 
ships. The third was made up of gunboats, 
paddle-steamers, and other light craft. The 
crews were rapidly recruited among the fishing 
population of the Dalmatian coast, and the 
sailors of Trieste and Pola. So new were many 



of them to work on board a man-of-war that 
they were not even uniformed when the fleet 
sailed, and they still wore at Lissa the clothes 
in which they enlisted. But they were brave 
and hardy seamen to begin with, and TegethofF 
had given them some weeks of training in 
which the crews were busy from morning to 

one of his steamers out with orders to recon- 
noitre the Italian coast from Ancona southwards 
as far as Bari. On June 23rd she returned to 
the Admiral's headquarters at Fasana, and 
reported that there were only a few ships at 
Ancona, and no sign yet of the enemy's main 
fleet coming up the coast. Tegethoff, on this, 

"from this POlNT TEGETHOFF KEPT ON THE BRIDGE " (p. l6o). 

night at target practice, the captains of the guns 
being taught to lay a whole broadside so as to 
converge on a single mark ; and there was also 
practice in manoeuvring under steam, in which 
great stress was laid on the importance of rapid 
turning so as to avoid the enemy's rams, and 
use the same weapon successfully against them. 
The result was that even the newly-enlisted 
men learned confidence in themselves and in the 
brave and skilful leader who commanded them. 
As soon as war was declared, TegethofF sent 

resolved to see if it was possible to make a rapid 
attack on Ancona, and on the 26th he put to 
sea with thirteen ships, including six of his iron- 
clads. He arrived off Ancona next day, and 
saw for himself that in the meantime Persano 
had collected his entire force in the harbour. 
But the Italians showed no signs of coming 
out to meet him, and he had no intention of 
fighting both their forts and their ironclads 
at one and the same time. So he steamed 
back to Fasana. 




Persano's orders were " to clear the Adriatic of 
the enemy's fleet by destroying it or blockading 
it in its harbours.'' But though he had on 
his side superior numbers, heavier guns* and 
thicker armour, he seemed very reluctant to 
begin. The fact is, he had not much confidence 
either in his own powers or in his officers and 
men. He remained at Ancona till July 8th, 
and only put out to sea on that day because he 
had received a telegram from the Government 
bidding him to look for the Austrian fleet, and 
blockade it if it was still at Pola. But even 
then all he did was to steam across to the 
Dalmatian coast and come back to Ancona on 
the 13th, after practising some fleet manoeuvres. 
The appearance of his fleet off" the island of 

Grossa was tele- 
graphed to Te- 
gethofi", who, 
however, refused 
to sail from 
Fasana till he 
knew clearly 
what were the 
plans and desti- 
nation of the 

Two days after 
the Italian fleet 
returned to An- 
cona its admiral 
received a per- 
emptory message from his Government informing 
him that, after the great hopes that had been 
built upon the fleet, everyone was disappointed 
with his inactivity, and that if he did not do 
something at once he would be removed from 
the command. It was suggested that he should 
attempt to capture by a coiip-dc-main the fortified 
island of Lissa on the Dalmatian coast, and 
several battalions were placed at his disposal to 
act as a landing party in case he decided to 
adopt this plan. 

Persano was thus driven to venture upon what 
has always been recognised as one of the most 
dangerous of naval operations. He was to 
escort a fleet of transports across the Adriatic, 

* The heavier armament of most of the Austrian ships 
consisted of smooth-bore 48-pounders. New rifled guns 
of larger calibre were being made for the Austrian fleet 
by Krupp at Essen, but when war became probable the 
Prussian Government stopped the delivery of them. On 
the other hand, one of the Italian ships carried 300- 
pounder Armstrong guns, mounted in a turret, and 
some of the other ironclads had 150-pounders in iheir 

and co-operate with the troops embarked in them 
in an attack upon a maritime fortress, having all 
the time a hostile fleet watching for the oppor- 
tunity to fall upon him, while he was engaged 
in the siege. True, the Austrian fleet was 
supposed to be inferior to that which he com- 
manded ; but, if this was so, the sound course for 
him was to blockade it in its harbours or crush 
it if it tried to come out. The enemy's fleet 
ought to have been dealt with before anything' 
else was attempted. If he was not strong enough 
to do this, he could not hope to reduce Lissa 
and keep Tegethoff at bay at the ^ame time. 
But the fact is, he was not acting on any sound 
principle of naval war. He was merely trying 
to " do something " to satisfy public opinion ; 
and there was just the chance that he might 
reduce Lissa before the Austrians arrived, or 
that Tegethoff" might shrink from attacking 
him ; or, if there was a battle, he might still 
hope that numbers and weight of metal would 
give Italy the victory over Austria. 

Lissa is an island about thirty miles from the 
Dalmatian coast, and one hundred and thirty 
from Ancona. As the nearest of the Dalmatian 
Islands to Italy, it has always been a naval station 
of some importance when a war has been in 
progress in the Adriatic ; and in our last war with 
France its waters were the scene of a brilliant 
frigate action in which our sailors defeated a 
much superior French force. In 1866 the chief 
harbour of Lissa, that of San Giorgio, and the 
neighbouring inlet of Porto Carober were pro- 
tected by strong batteries. There were alsO' 
batteries on the high rocks at Porto Comisa and 
at Manego. The signal station on Monte Hum,, 
the highest point in the island (about i ,600 feet 
above the sea), commanded in clear weather a 
view of both sides of the Adriatic, and the island 
was connected by a submarine cable with the 
neighbouring island of Lesina and the Dalmatian 
coast. The garrison of Lissa consisted of i,8oo> 
men, with eighty-eight guns, commanded by- 
Colonel Urs de Margina. 

On July 17th Persano steamed round the 
island, reconnoitred its defences, and decided on 
his plans for the attack. Next day Admiral 
Vacca, with three of the Italian ironclads and 
one Avooden ship, attacked the batteries of Porta 
Comisa. The main body of the fleet closed in 
upon the harbour batteries of San Giorgio, in 
order to keep the garrison there as much 
occupied as possible while Admiral Albini, with 
another squadron, brought six large screw 
steamers crowded with troops into the bay at 



Porto Manego in order to effect a landing there. 
At Porto Comisa, Vacca found he could not 
elevate his guns sufficiently to do any serious 
damage to the high batteries, and he was driven 
off by their shells. At Porto Manego, a heavy 
surf on the beach and the fire of the Austrians 
from the shore made the landing impossible. At 
San Giorgio, Persano silenced the low-lying 
batteries at the harbour mouth, blowing up two 
of their magazines, but the inner batteries 
prevented his ships from entering the port. 
During the day one of his steamers had gone 
in to the neighbouring island of Lesina and cut 
the telegraph cable there. While the Italians 
were in possession of the telegraph station at 
Lesina, a message from Tegethoff came through. 
It was addressed to Colonel de Margina, and 
told him to hold out to the last, promising that 
the fleet would come to rescue him. Persano 
tried to persuade himself that this message was 
intended to fall into his hands, and was a piece 
of mere " bluff" on the part of his opponent. 

On the following day he renewed the attack 
on Lissa, but again failed to force his way into 
the harbour, while an attempt to land troops 
at Porto Carober was repulsed with heavy loss. 
On this same day, July 19th, Tegethoff put to 
sea with every ship he could muster. His last 
order to his captains was to close with the 
enemy before Lissa, and once the battle began, 
to "Ram everything painted grey." This was 
the colour of the Italian ships. He gave his 
own hulls a coat of black paint before they 
started, in order to make it easier to distinguish 
friends from foes in the coming melee. 

On the evening of the 19th Persano was 
undecided what to do next day. He had been 
two days in action, and though his ships had 
received only slight injuries, his supply both of 
coal and ammunition was running short. Yet if 
he went back to Ancona without having obtained 
a decided success he would be deprived of his 
command. So he at last resolved to capture 
Lissa by a combined attack by land and sea. 
Early next day he signalled to his colleague 
Albini to prepare for the landing. It was a fine 
morning, with a good deal of white haze on the 
sea shutting off the distant view. i\lbini was 
getting the soldiers into the boats, and two of 
his frigates were standing in towards the creek 
of Carober to clear the way for the landing. A 
hospital ship had joined the fleet and was taking 
its wounded on board. The ironclads had 
assembled, and were getting up anchor for the 
attack on San Giorgio. It was eight o'clock : the 

attack was to begin at nine ; but suddenly out 
of the haze to the north-westward appeared the 
frigate Esploratore^ which had been scouting in 
the offing. She was steaming her fastest, and as 
she came nearer, Persano was able to read the 
signal she was flying. " Stispict'ous-lookvig ships 
are in sights He knew at once that he had to 
deal with the Austrian fleet. 

Tegethoff's fleet had been steaming all night 
in three lines, the ironclads leading, the wooden 
ships and gunboats following. The despatch- 
boat Stadion was out ahead, and at seven a.m., 
long before Persano knew what was coming, six 

Austrian Fleet 

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Ancona^ I 

of his 
ships were 
sighted by 
the keen 
eyes of the 
look-out at 
the mast- 
head of the 
ship. She 
signalled to her consorts, " Six steamers in 
sightP Then the haze closed down ahead, 
and Tegethoff slackened speed in hopes it 
would clear, for in such thick weather he did 
not care to venture into the narrow waters 
between Lissa and Lesina. He formed for 
battle, each of his lines throwing forward its 
centre so as to assume the shape of a flattened 
wedge. He led the first line in the Ferdinand 
Max^ with three ironclads on either beam. The 
second line also consisted of seven ships, Petz in 
the Kaiser leading, with three frigates on each 
side. Thus the squadron moved towards Lissa 
under easy steam. The haze was breaking up : 
it was a hot summer day, and a little before ten 
o'clock the sky was bright, the air clear, and the 
sea smooth ; and close ahead the Austrians saw 
the forts of Lissa with the imperial flag still 
waving over them, and in front of the harbour 



mouth the mass of wooden ships, transports, and 
small craft, interrupted in their preparations for 
the landing, and nearer still the Italian ironclads 
steaming out in one long line ready for battle. 

Persano, regarding his wooden ships as useless, 
had decided to take only his ten ironclads with 
him, believing that they would be able to deal 
Avith the seven which Tegethoff was bringing 
against him. He formed his ironclads in three 
divisions, each'of three ships, with the turret ship 
and ram Affondatore^ then the most powerful 

(i'lta/ia^ a large broadside ship, which had till 
then been flagship, no longer carried the 

When the haze cleared, the Italian fleet was 
steaming across the Austrian front. Tegethoff 
had already signalled to clear for action. He 
now signalled to open fire with the bow guns, 
and the distant shots from the leading Austrian 
ships were answered by the broadsides of Admiral 
Vacca's division, which led that of Italy. But' 
the range was fully two miles, and these " long 


vessel in the Adriatic,* on the starboard side 
of the central division. The Affondatorc^ with 
her ram and her heavy turret guns (two 
300-pounders), was to come to the help of 
whichever of the three divisions was in need of 
succour. At the last moment he himself went 
on board of her — an unfortunate move, which 
led to much confusion during the battle, as 
his captains were mostly unaware that the Re 

* The Affondatore was a new ship built in the Thames 
just before the war. A correspondent of the Times who 
saw her at Cherbourg, where she called on her way down 
Channel, wrote that she looked sufficiently formidable to 
destroy the whole Austrian ironclad fleet singlehanded. 

bowls " did no harm. The fleets were wrapped 
in drifting clouds of smoke, and geysers of 
foam shot up here and there from the blue 
water in the space between. " Full steam 
ahead," signalled Tegethoff. The fleets were 
closing, the Italians still keeping their broadsides 
to the advancing foe. The fire was closer, and 
now spars and ropes were cut away, boats and 
wooden fittings were knocked to splinters, and 
signalmen and others who had not yet got under 
cover were wounded or killed by bursting shells. 
" Ironclads roill ram and sink the enemy^^' sig- 
nalled Tegethoff, the last order he gave till the 
battle was won. From this point he kept on 



the bridge of the Ferdinand Max, regardless of 
personal danger, and led his fleet by showing 
his consorts what a well-handled battle-ship 
could do. Two of his captains, Molb of the 
ironclad Drachc, and Klint of the Novara, were 
killed as the fleets came to close quarters. Molb 

suddenly up out of the smoke loomed the tall 
masts of the Re d' Italia, which came up to the 
rescue of her consort. Tegethoflf, thinking he 
was dealing with the Italian flagship, charged 
her full speed and struck her fairly amidships. 
This time he had succeeded : the ram crushed 


being struck down by the first Italian shot that 
fell on board his ship. 

The two lines of ironclads closed amid 
thick clouds of smoke. The Austrian ships 
broke into the .gap between Vacca's three 
ironclads and the rest of the Italian fleet, and 
Petz, with the wooden ships coming up on their 
right, co-operated with them in their attack on 
the Italian centre. In a moment all order was 
lost, and the battle became a melee. The 
Ferdinand Max twice rammed a grey iron- 
clad without succeeding in sinking her, when 

in her iron side, and the tall masts toppled over 
as the ironclad went down with her crew of 600 
men. The Ferdinand Max had reversed her 
screw to clear the wreck, when another Italian 
vessel, the name of which could not be made out 
by the Austrians, came bearing down upon her 
trying to ram. The Austrian flagship just 
avoided the collision, and the two ships grazed 
past each other almost touching. As she thus 
ranged up alongside, the Italian ship fired a 
broadside. What followed would be incredible, 
only for the clear evidence which supports the 



Austrian record. So close were the muzzles of 
the Italian guns to the side of the Austrian 
flagship that the smoke of the broadside poured 
in through the open portholes of the Ferdinand 
Max and made her gun-deck for the moment 
dark as night. But neither the ship nor the 
men were injured, for in their hurry and con- 
fusion the Italian gunners had fired a broadside 
of blank cartridge! 

Admiral Ribotti, with the rearward division of 
the Italian fleet, as he came into the fight en- 
countered onlv the wooden squadron of Com- 
modore Petz. Ribotti ought to have sunk them 
one by one, but the Austrians evaded his attempts 
at ramming, and Petz in the Kaiser boldly 
drove the oaken bows of his battle-ship against 
the iron sides of his adversaries. He was not 
able to do them much damage. He hit the Re 
di Pbrtogallo^ Ribotti's own ship, one good blow, 
that left its mark on her armour, but in doing 
so his own ship was disabled. The bowsprit was 
carried away, the foremast fell across the funnel, 
and the wreck of mast and spars took fire. The 
Kaiser^ her crew working hard at cutting away 
the debris and putting out the fire, steamed 
through the Italian fleet and stood in to the 
harbour of Lissa, exchanging shots with some 
of the Italian wooden vessels. Cheered by the 
garrison, she passed the harbour mouth and 
anchored under the guns of the forts, the first of 
the relieving squadron to arrive at San Giorgio. 

Meanwhile the mcIec continued. While 
Tegethoflf was in the thick of the fight, Persano 
made the great ram Afondatore nearly useless 
by persisting in keeping on the outskirts of the 
conflict. If he had ventured in with her it is 
very likely he would have been sunk by the 
better-handled Austrian ships. The Palestro, 
which had gone into action immediately astern 
of the Re d' Italia^ had been almost as severely 
handled as her leader. She had been rammed. 
Her steering gear and rudder had been knocked 
to pieces, and her gun-decks were on fire. She 
drew out of the fight, her commander getting 
his steam hose to work to drown the magazine. 
The Austrian ships were now clearing the Italian 
line, and steering for Lissa. The jnelee, which 
had lasted for rather more than half-an-hour, 
was over. The position of the two fleets was 
reversed. The Austrians with their left near 
Lissa, were forming up in line across the channel 
between that island and Lesina. Everyone of 
their ironclads was still m good condition, and 
even the disabled Kaiser, which had gone into 
the harbour with her foremast burning and her 

decks strewed with nearly two hundred killed 
and wounded, was again clearing for action. The 
Italian wooden ships were assembling off the 
western end of the island. To the northward 
the ironclads were scattered here and there, on 
the waters that had just been the scene of the 
fight. As the smoke cleared, Persano signalled 
to the nearest ship — " Where is the Re 
d^ Italia ? " and got for answer, " Sunk to the 
bottom." Close astern of the Affondatorc lay 
the Palestro, the black smoke pouring from 
hatchway and porthole. Her crew believed that 
the magazine had been successfully drowned, and 
that they were getting the fire under. As they 
recognised Persano on the bridge of the 
Ajfondatorc, they gave him a cheer. His own 
crew were answering it when there was a burst 
of flame and a volume of dense smoke from the 
Palestro, and an explosion louder than all the 
din of battle went echoing over sea and shore. 
It was the death-knell of 400 men, for the 
Palestro had blown up with all on board. 

Admiral Vacca, thinking that Persano had 
gone down with the Re d' Italia, had signalled 
to the fleet to re-form in line of battle. The 
same signal from the Affondatorc showed him 
where his commander was. And the ironclads, 
now^ reduced from ten to eight, reformed in line 
It was noon on a blazing hot day, and for some 
time the two fleets watched each other across the 
svmny space of open water that divided them. 
Persano had still the advantage of numbers, and 
everyone expected that he would signal to renew 
the attack. But if he had very little confidence 
in his fleet before the battle, he was now re- 
duced to a condition of something like despair. 
Even the wooden ships of the Austrian squadron 
had passed in safety through his line, while 
their ironclads had destroyed two of his ships 
and more than a thousand of his men. It 
must be added that he had now been three 
times in action, and his stock of both coals for 
his engines and ammunition for his guns must 
have run very low. In this state of affairs, he 
persuaded himself that he need not actually 
attack the Austrians ; all that honour demanded 
of him was to give them the opportunity of 
renewing the trial of strength if they wished. So 
for another hour he remained in line of battle, 
just out of long range of his enemy's guns. 

But Tegethoff had accomplished the task- 
assigned to his fleet. He had relieved Lissa, by 
bringing the guns, the men, and the supplies of 
his fleet to the help of its brave little garrison 
He had done this, too, not by slipping past the 



Italians in the morning fog, but by fighting his 
wa}' through their most powerful squadron, 
making them pay dearly for their attempt to 
intercept him. Why should he renew the fight 
when there was nothing more to be gained for 
the moment ? 

Persano at last decided that he, too, had done 
enough for honour. He signalled to the fleet to 
steam away to the north-west, and shortly after 
altered his course for Ancona. He anchored 
there next day, and added to all his previous 
blunders the final folly of sending to his Govern- 
ment, and wiring all over Italy, the report that 
he had fought a pitched battle with the Austrians, 
and won a victory over them in the waters of 
Lissa. That night Florence (then the capital) 
was illuminated in honour of his '' triumph." 
Next day the facts began to be known. It was 
impossible to deny that the Austrian fleet was 
intact ; that the Italians had lost two ships, and 
had been forced to raise the siege of Lissa. It 
was in vain that Persano argued that he was the 
victor because he had remained in possession of 
the waters in which the battle had been fought, 
and that he had for a whole hour dared the 
Austrians to come on again. There was the 
obvious reply that a naval battle is not fought 
for the possession of a stretch of open water ; 
that Persano had tried to prevent the Austrians 
reaching Lissa, that they had gone there in spite 
of him ; and that they would have been fools to 
come back in order to show twice over that they 
were not afraid to fight him. There was a wild 
outburst of indignation against the unfortunate 
admiral ; there were riots at Florence, and a 
royal decree removed him from the command of 
the fleet. As if to add to the general collapse 
of the Italian navy, the Ajfoudatorc, supposed 
to be its most powerful ship, whether through 
injuries received at Lissa, or through mere 
defects in her structure, sank at her anchors in 
the harbour of Ancona. 

On the side of Austria, there were rejoicings in 
which the name of Tegethoflf was celebrated as 
that of an heroic sailor who had given his country 
the consolation of a naval victory at a time when 
her fortunes on land were at the lowest. He 
had won his great victory with comparatively 
httle loss. The Kaiser was the only ship that 
suffered at all heavily. In some of the ironclads 
there were only a few wounded, and every one 
of the ships was in a position to continue the 
fight when the Italian fleet retired. The battle 
was the first that had been fought b}- ironclad 

fleets in European waters, and the impression it 
made upon naval experts was that the ram 
would be the chief weapon of future battles on 
the sea. Yet, though we have by no means 
clear or full accounts of what happened in the 
melee while the two fleets were passing through 
each other's lines, it is certain that the number 
of attempts to ram made by the Austrians was 
out of all proportion to their two successful 
attacks. All the attempts of the Italians to ram 
ended in failure. It must be remembered that 
since Lissa a great change has come over naval 
tactics, through the development of the torpedo 
and the quick-firing gun, and it is now generally 
recognised by naval men that to attempt to ram 
an adversary till he is disabled by gunfire or 
otherwise is to invite failure and disaster. 
Tegethoff regarded the rarri as his chief weapon. 
Nowadays it is looked upon as the means ot 
giving the coup de grace and completing a 
victory that is already half won. 

The victor of Lissa was rightly honoured by 
his sovereign and his countrj-men, while Admiral 
Persano was put on his trial on the charge of 
having lost the battle through cowardice and 
incompetence. He was acquitted of the charge 
of cowardice, but found guilty of having sacrificed 
his fleet through his incompetent conduct at 
Lissa, and he was deprived of all rank and dis- 
missed from the navy. There is no doubt that 
although he alone was condemned, he was not 
the only oflficer of the Italian fleet who was 
responsible for the defeat of Lissa. Throughout 
there was a lamentable want of energy, pluck, 
and decision. Otherwise the Austrians would 
not have achieved their victory with so slight a 
loss. Albini's conduct in looking on idly with 
his frigates while Petz on the Austrian side was 
leading his wooden squadron against Ribotti's 
ironclads, is a good instance of this. 

Indeed, the Battle of Lissa, considered in its 
details, shows that success on the sea, as well 
as on land, is primarily a question of brave and 
competent leadership. Good oflficers are the 
first condition of naval success ; well-trained 
and disciplined crews the second ; power- 
ful ships are the third. Public opinion is 
often so ill informed as to put in the first 
place what really stands last ; but none of 
these elements of naval power can be safely 
neglected by a maritime State, and one which 
claims the Empire of the Sea must spare no 
effort to possess all three, and to possess tnem 
in abundance. 


IT was noon of the 4th of June, i85q, before 
the French general, Trochu, at the head 
of his division, could move out in turn 
from Novara along the high road leading 
to Milan across the river Ticino. The Emperor, 
Napoleon III., was commanding in person the 
united French and Italian armies. He had 
gone on ahead, and was himself preceded by 
several divisions of the French troops. It was 
known, in a general way, that the Austrian 
enemy was not far distant to the south and 
eastward beyond the river. An attack was 
expected, but it was uncertain where it would 
be made. 

Suddenl}- the noise of cannon was heard from 
the front, several miles away. It went on 
steadily increasing. 

" What is the meaning of that ? " inquired 
Trochu of an officer he met watering his horse 
by the roadside. 

" At first Ave thought it was a fight," was the 
answer ; " but it is only General Leboeuf trying 
his cannon." 

" Cannon would net thunder like that under 
trial," replied Trochu. " Those guns are loaded 
with something heavier than powder." 

He hastened the march of his troops with not 
a little anxiety. Soon another officer, in the 
sky-blue uniform which marked the personal 
-taff of the Emperor, dashed up. 

" Ah, General, what a fearful surprise ! The 
Emperor has been attacked by the Austrians 
when he least expected them. We are all but 

" Where is MacMahon ? " asked the General. 

" MacMahon had orders to march forward, 
no matter what happened, to the church-tower 
of Magenta." 

'' Then nothing is yet lost. MacMahon is not 
a Caesar, but he is stubborn. If he has been 

told to march on the tower of Magenta, he wi'l 
reach it in spite of all. And then it is we who 
shall have outflanked the Austrian army." 

Several hours passed before the guns o! 
MacMahon made themselves heard. It was late 
at night before the Emperor learned what Mac- 
Mahon and his men had been doing. Generals 
and soldiers, wearied out with the afternoon's 
bloody fighting by the river, could not believe 
that a great victory had been won in the evening 
without them over by Magenta. In the 
morning, when they looked for the battle to be 
renewed, they found that the enemy was indeed 
drawing off, sullen and beaten. 

Even afterwards, when each movement of the 
hostile troops was known and could be followed 
on the map, great authorities in practical 
warfare, like the Prussian general, von Moltke. 
criticised the winning of the battle. MacMahon 
at Magenta is an instance of a battle won 
contrar\- to rule. 

I. — The Preparations of Battle. 
The enmitv between Austrians and Italians 
was of old date. It belonged to the great 
popular mov-ement ni favour of a common 
government for all of the Italian race and 
language. Until now the whole of Italy had 
been divided up piecemeal among many rulers. 
To the north-west Victor Emanuel had his 
kingdom of Sardinia, or Piedmont. He reprc 
sented the Italian hopes in this war with Austria 
which held possession of the rich provinces of 
Lombardy and Venice to the east of his 
dominions. Toward the south were the petty 
duchies of Parma and Modena, the grand-duchy 
of Tuscany, the States of the Church, and the 
kingdom of Naples, or the Two Sicilies. All 
these were at one with Austria in striving to 
keep things as they had been so long ; but theii 



people were ripe for the revolution which was 
bound to come. Magenta was the first decisive 
victory won, after an invasion of the Austrian 
territory, in the name of United Italy. 

The war had been long preparing. In 1849 
the Austrians crushed for a time the Italian 
uprising by a victory over the Sardinians here 
at Novara. For many years nothing could be 
done but by way of diplomacy. This was the 
work of Cavour, the Minister of King Victor 
Emanuel. From 1852 he had been persuading 

revolutionary society, reminded him that the 
carbonari were relentless in their vengeance on 
traitors to their cause. In July, 1858, it was 
made known that the Emperor of the French 
had entered into close alliance with the King 
of Sardinia. 

Austria, seeing that war was inevitable, pre- 
ferred that it should come sooner rather than 
later. On the 19th of April, 1859, she summoned 
Sardinia to put her army on a peace footing 
within three days. Cavour refused, and on the 


the governments of Europe that there was an 
Italian question which would soon have to be 

Louis Napoleon, who was now Emperor in 
France, had himself been a revolutionist in Italy 
when he was only a needy adventurer. That 
was in 1831, when he took part in an insurrec- 
tion in the Papal States. He then became a 
carbonaro^ or member of one of those secret 
societies in which the chief obligation was to 
forward the cause of Italian unity. For a long 
time after he became emperor he shrank from 
precipitating the war to which his oath obliged 
him. The explosion of a bomb under his 
carriage in Paris by Orsini, the son of the 
man who had stood sponsor for him in the 

29th the Austrian commander Gvulai invaded 
the Sardinian territory. 

Napoleon III. now announced that the acts 
of Austria constituted a declaration of war on 
France, the ally of Sardinia. At once he set 
about organising his army for the Italian 
campaign. On the 4th of May his troops were 
entering the valley of the Po, along which lay 
the open way to Lombardy. On the loth the 
Emperor himself left Paris for the seat of war, to 
command the allied armies in person. 

The news of Napoleon's coming was enough- 
to send Gvulai back from the threatening move- 
ment which he had already made on Turin, the 
capital of Sardinia. Napoleon had not yet his 
artiller}', but the Austrian commander did not 



know the essential weakness and confusion of 
the forces that were coming to meet him. 
Until the battle of Magenta, when consistent 
and energetic measures were already too late, 
the Austrian movements were a strange alterna- 
tion of forward marches leading to no decisive 
action, and of hasty and fatiguing retreats when 
p.o enemv pursued. 

General Gvulai's mind in the matter is now 
known. He was continually urged from Vienna, 
and afterwards from Verona, in Italy, where the 
Austrian Emperor had placed himself to direct 
the campaign, to push forward with his numer- 
ous, well-drilled, and well-equipped troops, and 
take the offensive. He himself was beset with 
fears that the enemy might pass him by and 
take Lombardy unprotected. He was not 
reassured when a division of his army in 
.he north had succeeded in driving the free 
bands of Garibaldi to the very edge of the 
neutral Swiss territory. He gradually drew back 
to the region where the river Ticino, in its 
lower course, separated Lombardy from Sardinia. 
There he gave all his attention to concentrating 
his forces around the strong defensive positions 
which he had already prepared. But aii this 
gave time to the French army to perfect its 
order and equipment, and to concentrate its 
own strength in line with the Sardinian troops. 

Such was the general situation of things on 
the i3t of June, when Napoleon was directing 
the main body of the allied troops along the 
great highwav leading to Milan, the capital of 
Lombard\", only twenty miles beyond the 
Ticino. On that day Gyulai again retreated 
with all his forces, leaving the astonished French 
Emperor free to enter Novara. Napoleon could 
not believe that the Austrians would long delay 
their attack. On both sides the service of scouts 
was so ill-organised that neither commander 
had any clear idea of the other's strength and 

On the 2nd of June Napoleon sent forward 
two divisions of MacMahon's corps to see what 
was awaiting them along the Ticino. General 
Camou reached the river, with his light infantry, 
at Porto di Turbigo, six miles to the north- 
east of Novara. He found no one facing him 
from the Austrian s'ide but the single Customs 
officer, who was still faithful to the post which 
he had occupied in time of peace. From the 
yellow and black flagstaff beside him floated 
cne double-headed eagle of Austria. Camou 
ordered first one, and then a second cannon- 
shot to be fired. The functionary disappeared 

open-mouthed. General Lebocuf, who was in 
command of the artillery, dashed up, pale with 

" General," he cried to Camou, " what are 
you firing at ? It is lucky there is no one in 
front of you. Do you wish to bring the enemy 
down on us ? " 

In this campaign of blunders fortune steadily 
favoured the French and Italian armies. Un- 
molested bv any sharpshooters that might have 
been hidden in the marshy thickets across the 
river, the bridge of pontoons was completed, 
boat by boat, and at half-past six in the even- 
ing a division of the light infantr}- was safely 
established on the enemy's ground. 

General Espinasse, with his division, had 
■gone forward along the high road to Milan as 
far as the stone bridge of San Martino. This 
was expected to be a strong defensive position of 
the Austrians. To his surprise he found that 
it too had been abandoned, after an ineffectual 
attempt to blow it up. The only two arches 
that had been seriously injured were repaired 
that same afternoon, and another way lay open 
into the enemy's country. 

It now seemed evident that the Austrians 
would make their stand along the Naviglio 
Grande — the broad and deep canal which here 
follows the general course of the Ticino, at from 
one to three miles' distance toward Milan. The 
indecision of the French Emperor was still great. 
He could not determine on any general advance 
of the allied armies further to the east, fear- 
ing always that the invisible enemy might be 
turning back to attack him from the south. 

At three o'clock in the morning of the 3rd 
of June, the light infantry reached a bridge over 
the canal. It was untouched, and the Austrians 
were not there to defend it. Two companies of 
the French troops at once installed themselves 
in houses on the bank, and, by mattresses at 
the windows and other\\'ise, prepared a defence 
against any sudden attack. The remainder of the 
battalion crossed the bridge and disposed itself 
behind the stone walls of the gardens and the 
haystacks which were near at hand. In this 
way an enemy would be covered by the fire from- 
each bank. MacMahon's entire corps, comprising 
the divisions of Generals Espinasse and Lamot- 
terouge, besides the light infantry of Camou, 
had been ordered to cross the river and rana; 
by the bridges which had thus been secured. 
While the greater part were still at the 
pontoons, MacMahon and Camou, with a large 
body of troops, pushed on beyond the canal to 



Turbigo, a village farther north. The corps 
thus took the position, which it kept through 
all the subsequent fighting, of left wing (farthest 
to the north and east) of the long, scattered 
line of the allied armies. 

General Mellinet, with the Grenadiers of the 
Imperial Guard, was substituted for Espinasse at 
the bridge of San Martino to the south. The 
Austrian division of Clam-Gallas, which was 
occupying Magenta, faced all these troops ap- 
proaching it from the north and west. 

The Turcos, whom MacMahon had brought 
with his other soldiers from their posts in 
Algiers, soon dislodged the few Austrian com- 
panies that were on guard at Turbigo. Seeing 
the way clear, MacMahon, with Camou and a 
small escort, rode forward to the hamlet of 
Robecchetto, where the two generals climbed 
the church-tower with the hope of ascertaining 
the position of the enemy. Instead, they saw a 
large number of the Austrian troops charging 
down on them. They had barely time to get to 
their horses and ride away, with the Austrians 
behind them in hot pursuit. The Algerian 
sharpshooters came to the rescue, and soon a 
serious battle was raging around Turbigo. 

At the same time a column of 4,000 men, 
preceded by a battalion of Tyrolese sharp- 
shooters, was directed against the bridge over 
the canal, which the French troops had occupied 
in the early morning. The Austrian commander 
now foresaw the results of the negligence which 
allowed the allied troops to cross both river and 
canal above the positions on which he relied for 
defence. It was too late. Before the Austrian 
attack could dislodge the French infantry, who 
answered their fire from each end of the bridge, 
MacMahon had gained the day at Turbigo, and 
his cannon sounded nearer and nearer. The 
enemy, fearing to be cut off from their main 
body, hastily retreated. It was seven o'clock in 
the evening. The combat of Turbigo, which 
vv'as the prelude of the morrow's work, had been 
fought and won. Napoleon, who came up 
during the fray, gave the name to one of the 
broad, new streets he was opening in Paris. 

The Emperor returned to Novara for the 
night, and made out the necessary orders for a 
general movement forward of the allied armies 
on the following day. These orders were 
changed next morning in several of their details. 
As they were based on no precise knowledge of 
the enemy's position and movements, they were 
again upset by the fighting and surprises of the 

II. — The Ride of the Commandant. 
At si-K o'clock in the morning of the 4th 
of June, Napoleon despatched Commandant 
Schmitz of his staff with his final orders. 

" Go first to the King. Inform him of my 
march forward, and tell him to begin moving 
his men, following Camou over the left side oi 
the river." This was for Victor Emanuel, who 
was in command of 22,000 men, one-half of the 
Italian regiments of the allied armies. He was 
but a short distance to the west of the pontoon 
bridges which had been thrown across the 
Ticino at Porto di Turbigo. 

" Go on next to the Ticino. I have ordered 
two of the bridges to be brought down to San 
Martino, to hasten what will be the long crossing 
of our own troops." The Emperor referred to 
the main portion of his army, made up of the 
41,000 men of Canrobert : nd Niel, who were 
still back of Novara, and of 40,000 more belong- 
ing to the corps of Baraguey d'Hilliers and the 
second Italian division. The latter were so 
many miles in the rear that they could be of no 
use in any battle to be fought that day. 

" Then find MacMahon, who must be already 
beyond Turbigo. Ask him what he counts on 
doing if he has the enemy in his front. Inform 
him of the march and position of the Guard, 
which he has at his right.'' This was General 
Mellinet's division, which had been detached 
from Camou and was ahead}' across the river at 
San Martino. With the remainder of the Guard 
under Camou, and the entire divisions of Espin- 
asse and Lamotterouge, this brought to 32,000 
the number of men sharing in MacMahon's 
offensive movement on ]\Iagenta. 

" I shall be at Trecate " (halfway from Novara 
to the bridge of San Martino), continued the 
Emperor " at noon precisely. Make the entire 
round, and be exact in reporting to me at that 

The line of march thus formed left MacMahon 
in command of the left wing of the army. This 
was already in great part across both river and 
canal, and was to be followed closely by King 
Victor Emanuel with his Italian regiments as a 
reserve. The Emperor was commanding in 
person the centre and right — that is, the long 
line of troops which was to advance, division 
after division, along the high road of Milan. He 
had to expect a sharp fight in forcing the strong 
defensive positions held by the enemy where 
the road crosses the canal, before reaching 
Magenta. The movement of MacMahon's corps 
on Magenta from the other side was designed 



by him to divide the Austrian forces during this 

In the absence of all precise information, 
Napoleon still believed that the bulk of the 
Austrian army was disposed in a long line 
parallel to his own, and several miles to the 
south. To avoid a possible general attack all 
along the line, iie had arranged the march of 
his troops io that division trod on the heels of 
division from far be3'ond Novara. He hoped, by 
forcing b^ck the right wing of the Austrian 
army, which alone he supposed to be defending 

divisions of Novara could have marched up to 
their aid. Around Magenta the troops of Clam- 
Gallas faced MacMahon to the north, and the 
high road from San Martino to the west. There 
was a strong body of cavalry at Corbetta close at 
hand. The divisions of Liechtenstein were at 
Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge) and Robecco, 
along the canal below where the road crosses 
it. These, which formed the right and centre of 
the line of the Austrian army as it was actually 
engaged in battle, numbered 36,000 men. The 
left was in the immediate neighbourhood, with 


the approaches to Magenta, to be able to pass 
by the main body of the enemy and march 
on Milan. At least, this is the only way of 
explaining the Emperor's orders for this 4th day 
of June. As a line of battle his forward move- 
ment was preposterous, straddling a river and 
canal, which were not easy of passage, and 
without any defensive positions to support him 
in case a concentrated attack should be made in 
the meantime. 

General Gyulai did not know the advantages 
of his position. The line of battle which he 
opposed to the French advance admitted of a 
quick concentration of his troops which might, 
by the mere force of numbers, have crushed the 
corps of MacMahon and the Guard before the 

Zobel not two miles to the south and the 
rest just beyond at Abbiategrosso, 28,000 in 
all. At Vigevano across the Ticino there 
were 24,000 more, quite as near as the central 
divisions of the French. The remaining 25,000 
men of the Austrian army, like the extreme 
rear of the allies, were too far away to b.^ 
counted on for this day's work. 

As it was, between ignorance and indecision, 
the battle was to be fought with about equal 
forces on either side. It was to be an instance 
of an adage often in the mouths of military 
nien — ^" Victory belongs to him who makes the 
fewest blunders." 

Commandant Schmitz galloped off on his long 
morning ride. He warned the King to hasten 




the movement of his troops, which would be 
needed as a reserve in case MacAlahon should 
be attacked. Only one of the pontoon bridges 
would be left him for the tedious crossing over 
the Ticino. Beyond the river he found the 
division of Camuu already on the way to follow 
the main column led by MacMahon. It was 
half-past ten o'clock before he came up with 
MacMahon himself, riding at the head of the 
division of Lamotterouge. 

" The Emperor asks what you reckon on 
doing if vou meet the enemy." 

" I have no 
news yet, and 
there is no at- 
tack along the 
front. On ac- 
count of the 
narrow road I 
have only the 
division of La- 
motterouge with 
me. I have sent 
Espinasse b}- a 
roundabout way 
at a half-hour's 
march from my 
left. He is 
keeping up with 
me. Camou is 
behind. Tell the 
Emperor that I 
count on being 
at Magenta at 
two o'clock." 

The Co m- 
mandant rode back, after warning MacMahon 
that the King had not yet begun crossing 
the river with the troops which ought to be 
his final reserve for the dav. He reached 
Trecate at noon, just as the Emperor was 
alighting from his^ carriage. All along the 
way he had heard the noise of cannon from 
beyond San Martino. Napoleon received 
his report, mounted his horse, and rode off 
hastily with his escort in the direction of the 

It was the portion of the Guard which was 
under General Mellinet that had been violently 
engaged beyond the bridge at the village of 
Buffalora by the canal. Napoleon sent back at 
once to hurry on the corps of Niel, which was 
marching forward along the road from Novara. 
The disposition which had been made of the 
troops rendered this no easy task, and Mellinet 

was obliged to hold his own as best he might for 
three hours longer. 

At half-past four the Emperor, more and more 
disquieted at hearing nothing from MacMahon, 
sent Commandant Schmitz once more by the 
weary round of the morning to get news of him. 
There was no nearer way by which he might 
escape the enemy's fire in crossing the canal. 
At six o'clock the Commandant reached the 
pontoons, which the Italian regiments had not 
yet finished crossing. \'ictor Emanuel asked 
if it was Canrobert who was attacked. 

" No, sire : it 
is the whole 
army. Have you 
nothing from 
MacMahon ? " 

"Yes; a word 
in pencil, signed 
by his aide-de- 
camp ; but it is 
not pressing." 

Schmitz could 
only conjure the 
King not to lose 
a moment of 
time, and asked 
for an officer to 
keep him com- 
pan}' in his own 
search. As they 
rode off, the. 
Piedmontese in- 
fantr}' was strag- 
gling over the 
pontoons. Some of the men were stopping to 
heat their soup in the islands of the river, and 
all, when a new burst of artillery was heard 
from the distance, gave vent to their patriotic 
cry — " TYva V Italia ! " 

It was eight o'clock and night was falling 
when Commandant Schmitz reached the line of 
railway from Milan, just beyond Magenta. On 
the track before him lay a body covered with a 
blue cloak and guarded by a staff-officer in tears. 
It was General Espinasse, who had been shot 
dead as he entered Magenta. At the other end 
of the town a sharp fusilade was still going on. 
In the confusion, it was some time before 
MacMahon could be found ; and it was half-past 
eleven at night before the Commandant arrived 
with his news at Napoleon's quarters by the 
river. The Emperor was lying, dressed, on the 
bed in an attic room of the little inn. He arose, 



and by the light of a candle dictated the 
telegraphic despatch to the Empress Eugenie 
which set all Paris rejoicing next day. 
" A great battle — a great victory ! " 

III. — The Fight at Magenta. 

From the beginning, the task assigned to the 
troops of MacMahon was long, difficult, and 
dangerous. After crossing both river and canal, 
they had to march down toward Magenta in a 
line trending always to the right. They would 
thus be ready to aid in the attack which the 
divisions under the command of the Emperor 
were bound to make on the enemy's positions 
along the canal. 

Shortly after Commandant Schmitz left him 
in the morning, MacMahon came suddenly on 
the enemy in front of Buffalora. This small 
village, situated on both sides of the canal, was 
one of the strongest Austrian positions, and the 
first serious obstacle which Napoleon would 
encounter in his own movement forward from 
the other side. MacMahon at once ordered the 
attack. It was made, with their wonted violence, 
bv the Turcos and the foot-soldiers of the 4qth 
Regiment of the line. The}' were in the thick 
of the fray when a strong column of the enemy 
was discovered moving up to attack the divisions 
of MacMahon from the right. So far as he 
could discern, he would have to face the main 
body of the Austrian army. The smoke of 
battle already clouded the air, heav}- from the 
damp ricefields by the river, and it would be no 
light task to bring his various divisions into line 
from their march across countr}-. The enemy's 
advance already threatened to separate him 
from the troops led bv Espinasse, and from 
Camou, who was not 3'et in sight. 

Before him, where the combat was actually 
engaged, disorder had already begun. The 
shells, on which the Austrians chiefly relied in 
this campaign, were Avhizzing through the air 
and leaving clouds of smoke and dust that added 
to the difficulty of his movements. One regi- 
ment, which had been ordered to fall back, 
found itself marching straight on the enemy ; 
and another, wishing to rush forward to the 
attack which had been begun, turned back in 
the opposite direction. 

MacMahon now gave orders that the Turcos 
and foot-soldiers should give over the attack on 
Buffalora and rally to his main column. This 
was a' work of time. It was necessary to tear 
the men from a mortal combat which they were 
sharing with the Grenadiers of the Guard. 

These, at the head of Mellinet's division, had 
come up from the other side and were already 
taking their position in the village. MacMahon 
next ordered Espinasse to move his men 
steadily to the right until he should be able to 
act in concert with the division led by himself. 
He then suspended his own movements until 
he could enter into communication with Camou, 
who was approaching but slowly from behind. 

In these first movements of the day. General 
MacMahon has been reproached for his sudden 
attack on Buffalora ; but this seems to have 
been in harmony with the essential plan of 
the Emperor, who had little idea of the real 
strength of the Austrian troops concentrated 
round Magenta. 

He is next blamed for withdrawing his men 
from the attack when the Guard was in most 
danger ; but it was the business of the Emperor 
to protect his own line of attack. MacMahon 
had been made responsible for the important 
attack on Magenta itself ; and the advance of 
the enemy on his right threatened to render 
this impossible. Besides, the Grenadiers of 
Colonel d'Alton-Shee had already secured pos- 
session of Buffalora, which they had now only 
to defend. 

Most of all, MacMahon is criticised for the 
long pause which now ensued in his operations, 
while the enemy was attacking in force close at 
hand. This was contrary to the tradition of 
the French army, praised by Moltke, that haste 
should be made where the cannon sounds. It 
can only be answered that MacMahon had been 
positively ordered to macch forward to the 
church-tower of Magenta ; that he was not 
responsible for the slowness of Camou which 
retarded his own movements ; and that the 
victory which he won when he did move on 
the enemy shows who it was made the fewest 
blunders on that day. 

In directing the movements of his thirteen 
battalions. General Camou, whose experience 
of war went back to the First Napoleon, had 
been following all the rules. At the sound of 
the cannonading in front, he marched straight 
across the fields toward the church-tower of 
Magenta, on which he knew MacMahon was 
advancing before him. The fields were separ- 
ated from each other by dense thorn-hedges, 
and divided into small patches of maize. These, 
in turn, were separated by rows of mulberry 
trees bound together by wires, along which 
grape-vines were trained. A.t each moment the 
Sappers were called on to use their axes, and the 



other soldiers their sword-bayonets. This 
needed no great time ; but, at every open 
space, the command of the tactician Camou 
was heard, stopping all movement in order to 
straighten properly the line of his advance. 


At half-past four o'clock MacMahon himself, 
with his uniform in disorder and accompanied 
only by a few officers of his staff, dashed up to 
hurry forward this reserve which was necessary 
to his own attack. On the way he had run 
into a body of Austrian sharpshooters who 
saluted him as one of their own commanders, 
not dreaming of the presence of the French 
general. Hastening back to give directions to 
Espinasse, he again barely escaped being captured 
by the Uhlans. Camou had taken six hours for 
less than five miles of march. 

The drums now beat the charge, and a 
determined attack was made on the enemy's 
main column. It was taken between two fires, 
from the division of Espinasse on one side, and 
from that of Lamotterouge, led by MacMahon 
in person, on the other. Steu by step, resisting 
desperately to the end, the Austrian troops fell 
back on Magenta, where their general and his 

staff were watching the fortunes of the battle 
from the church-tower. 

Espinasse, by order of MacMahon, hastened 

his movement on the town from the side of the 

railway, to stop the fire of artillery which fell 

obliquely on the troops of Lamotterouge. 

A compan\- of Tyrolese sharpshooters had 

entrenched themselves in one of the first 

houses. General Espinasse and his orderly 

fell dead under their unerring shots. In 

^ their frenzy, his Zouaves broke through 

the defences of the house and put to the 

bayonet each man of the three hundred 

Tyrolese. The bloody fight was continued 

around the railway station and through 

the narrow streets of the town. It left 

everywhere dead bodies clothed with the 

hostile uniforms, the red breeches 

of the French mingling with the 

white jackets of the Austrians. 

On his side, MacMahon charged 
again and again, but the resistance 
was still obstinate around the 
church. At last, from the tower, 
the Austrian commander caught 
sight of the four regiments of 
Camou advancing in that regular 
order which became old soldiers 
of the Guard. They were im- 
patient to share in the fra}-, but 
the Austrian general abandoned 
the place before them. Not one 
of their number had burned a 
cartridge or received a scratch. 
Their coming two hours earlier 
would have saved no end of good French blood. 
The Italian reserve, under King Victor Emanuel 
in whose cause the war was waging, did not 
appear all this day. 

With nightfall, the soldiers of MacMahon — 
those who had fought and those who had only 
marched bravely — bivouacked as best they could 
outside the town. The doctors began their 
all night's work among the wounded in the 

General Trochu had brought his battalions 
forward at quick step along the road from 
Novara. At the bridge over the Ticino he 
found the Emperor quite alone, listening in- 
tently to the sounds of the battle. The officers 
of his escort had been despatched in every 
direction for information to relieve his uncer- 
taint}'. Trochu asked for directions. Napoleon, 
white and trembling, could not answer. At 



last, in a scarcely intelligible whisper, he said, 
pointing to the bridge — • 

" Pass ! " 

From General Regnauld de Saint-Jean 
d'Angety, who was in command on the other 
side, Trochu learned that the enemy still held 
out at the Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio) over the 
canal, in spite of Canrobert's impetuous onsets. 
He ordered his men to move forward, rifle on 
shoulder and all the drums beating and trumpets 
sounding. The Austrians, believing in the 
arrival of a large body of fresh troops, abandoned 
their last positions. At four o'clock in the 
morning Trochu followed them to the south 
with his artillery, and their defeat became a 
rout. When Napoleon, on this day (the 5th of 
June), sent 50,000 men against what he still 
supposed to be the main body of the enemy, 
not an Austrian was to be found. 

After a day for rest, on the 6th, MacMahon, 
with his corps, was off to check the advanc^; 

from the north of General Urban, who was 
hurrying back from his chase of Garibaldi. 
Napoleon stood at the bridge of San Martino to 
see the troops pass by. Calling MacMahon to 
alight from his horse, he said : 

" I thank 3-ou for what you have done. I 
name you Marshal of France and Duke of 

At the request of the generals who could not 
j-et understand how the battle had been won 
without them, the dignity of Marshal was, also 
bestowed on the modest and valiant commander- 
in-chief of the Imperial Guard, General Regnauld 
de Saint-Jean d'Angelv. It was the heroic re- 
sistance of General Mellinet and his Grenadiers 
of the Guard, left unaided for hours at Buffalora. 
that allowed to Camou all the time he required 
for bringing up his men according to military 
rules. It also gave MacMahon the shorter time 
needed to march forward and to reach the 
church-tower of Masfcnta. 



IT is now more than forty years since we 
entered upon our last great European 
war, when, aUied with the French and 
the Turks, we were opposed to Russia. 
The early part of 1854 was spent in complete 
inaction at Varna, on the Black Sea. Cholera 
made terrible havoc in our camp, and the men 
were growing disheartened, while everybod}- at 
home was dissatisfied. The great strength of 
the Russians lay about Sebastopol, a nearly im- 
pregnable fortress on the opposite shore ; and 
it was at length decided to invade the Crimea 
and attack Sebastopol. A magnificent armada 
was prepared, and the allied armies were Carried 
across in a vast flotilla of steam and sailing 
transports, escorted by a proud array of battle 
ships. All who saw it, declare that it was one 
of the most imposing spectacles in modern war. 

A powerful Russian fleet lay in the harbour of 
Sebastopol, but it made no attempt at resistance, 
although it might have done much mischief ; 
and the allied armies were all safely landed on 
the 19th September, at a place called Old Fort, 
in the Crimea. 

The Russians did not oppose us at first. Prince 
Mentschikoff", who was in supreme command 
throughout the Crimea, preferred to wait. Al- 
though he knew all our movements, and might 
easily have interfered with the disembarkation, 
he thought he could do us more mischief when 
he had us well on shore. He had chosen a fine 
position for his army — that, in fact, on which 
the battle of the Alma was fought two days 
later, and he thought it impregnable. He was 
a self-sufficient, headstrong man ; a poor soldier, 
and very presumptuous, as we shall see. 

He believed that the allies would soon waste 
themselves fruitlessly ; that he might easily hold 
them at bay, perhaps for weeks. Then, when 
they were weakened by losses, and disheartened 
by failure, he meant to strike back, confidently 

hoping to drive them into the sea. Not a man, 
he declared, should regain the ships. 

Pride often goes before a fall, and the result 
of the first battle was verv diff"erent from what 
Mentschikofi" expected. He was wrong all 
round : wrong in his estimate of the fighting 
qualities of the troops opposed to him, especially 
of the British ; wrong in his belief in the great 
strength of his position ; altogether wrong in 
his dispositions for defence. 

It was very extensive, this position : from the 
sea, its westernmost limit, to the eastern slopes 
of the Kourgane Hill was some five and a half 
miles ; the whole front was covered by the river 
Alma — a river in places deep and rapid, at others 
fordable, and there was a good timber bridge at 
Bourliouk, in the centre of the position, which 
carried the great causeway or post road from 
Eupatoria to Sebastopol. The western cliffs, 
nearest the sea, were steep, and supposed to 
be inaccessible ; but the hills fell away as they 
trended further inland, and the approach from 
the river became practicable, although still 
off"ering a rather stiff" climb. The ground about 
the centre and right rose high at two particular 
points : one was called the Telegraph Height, 
and it dominated the principal road ; the other 
was the famous Kourgane Hill, an elevated peak 
around which the battle ebbed and flowed, and 
which is now acknowledged to have been the 
key to the position. 

Mentschikoff" was but scantily supplied with 
troops to occupy so long a line as this. But he 
was not very greatly concerned about it. Ac- 
cording to his view— and he arrived at the con- 
clusion a little too readily, as he soon found to 
his cost— the west cliff", that part of the position 
nearest the sea, could defend itself, he felt sure. 
They were untenable, too, as he told himself, 
for the whole surface of this plateau was within 
range of the allied fleets, and the fire of their 



guns would soon have swept it of the Russian 
troops. These reasons sufficed to justify him in 
holding his chief strength, about 36,000 infantry, 
between the two hills just mentioned, the Tele- 
graph and the Kourgane, a front limited to less 
than three miles. His cavalry, in which he was 
especially strong, having about 3,600 sabres in 
all, guarded his right flank when the more open 
down-land was favourable to their movement. 
His ninety-six guns were distributed over the 
whole ground : some commanded the causeway, 
some were with the cavalry, some with the 
great reserves, some in the two redoubts. 

These dispositions showed both carelessness 
and want of skill. The Prince had not satisfied 
himself of the impregnability of the west cliff. 
Had he visited and inspected it, he would have 
found that a good waggon track ascended the 
hill from the village of Almatamack, which could 
be used, and was, for artillery. Yet he could 
easily; have broken up this road ; just as easily as 
he could have thrown up formidable entrench- 
ments to make assurance doubl}- sure, and forbid 
absolutely all attempt to attack on this side. 
This neglect to fortify rll along the front, 
although the ground lent itself admirably to 
such defensive works, was no less blamable. 
Whether or not the position was everywhere 
naturally strong, it might soon have been made 
so. If the heights of the Alma had been 
converted into a properly and scientifically 
entrenched camp, the allies would hardly, 
perhaps never, have captured them. 

All Mentschikoff did was to construct two 
works, one named by our men the " Greater," 
the other the " Lesser " Redoubt. The first 
was nothing more than a breastwork — breast 
high, that is to say, without a ditch, and some 
three hundred 3^ards above the Alma, just on the 
lower slopes of the Kourgane Hill. The Prince 
was very proud of this fortification, which had 
two short sides for flanking fire, and was armed 
with twelve heavy guns. More to the right, on 
the same hill, was another slight entrenchment 
facing north-east, and armed with field artillery. 
This was the Lesser Redoubt. 

The allied forces marching on Sebastopol, 
arrived in front of this position on the 20th 
September, 1854. It was a momentous occasion. 
For the first time in modern history the French 
and English, two hereditary foes, were about to 
fight side by side. A newer and a better rivalry 
had effaced old feuds. The fierce contests in 
Spain and at Waterloo were forgotten, although 
the English corhmander and many of his 

generals had won their laurels against the 
French. Now the two old enemies were the 
fastest of friends. Lord Raglan, who, as Fitz- 
roy Somerset, had lost his arm at Waterloo, 
was revered by all ranks in the French army ; 
and when Marshal St. Arnaud, the French 
commander-in-chief, passed along the British 
line, he was received with loud cheers, to 
which he replied, lifting his hat, and speaking 
in good English, '' Hurrah for old England ! " 

Emulation in great deeds is a fine thing, but 
when allies fight side by side there is always the 
fear of divided counsels, the chance of divided 
action in the field. The English and French 
generals did not exactly disagree, but each went 
very much his own way. St. Arnaud wished to 
take the front at- 
tack from the sea 
to beyond the 
causeway, leaving 
Lord Raglan to 
turn the Russian 
right. This the 
English general did 
not choose to do ; 
he thought a flank- 
ing movement 
would be dangerous 
in the presence of 
a superior cavalry, 
over ground espe- 
cially suited to it — 
like a racecourse, 

in fact, open, and covered with smooth, spring}' 
turf. It ended in an agreement that each army 
should go up against what was before it, the 
French attacking the west cliff, from the cause- 
way to the sea, the English taking the hills 
from the causeway to the extreme right. 

The result of this was that the French found 
no enemy, and the brunt of the battle fell upon 
us. The honour was all the greater, of course. 
But this arrangement neutralised all our 
advantages of superior numbers. French and 
English together numbered some 63,000, as 
against 30,000 Russians. As, however. Mentschi- 
koff" held the bulk of his forces about his centre 
and right — in other words, just opposite the 
English attack — it followed that Russians and 
English would fight upon pretty equal terms. 
This was all the more emphasised by the French 
moving so much to their right that a large 
portion of their army was quite out of the 
action, while the rest was only partially engaged. 

The allied troops were astir at daylight on the 




20th September, but the battle was not really 
fought till the afternoon. Delays that were 
vexatious yet inevitable interposed. Lord 
Raglan was obliged to draw towards him 
two of his divisions, with which he had been 
covering his exposed left flank, and at the same 
,time he gave a safer direction for his baggage 
train. The slow transfer of the latter from the 
left to his own immediate rear occupied the 
whole forenoon, and the French, who had no 
such troubles, chafed greatly at the delay. 

But at length Bosquet began the ball at 
2 p.m. He led off with his, the extreme right 
or seaward French division, and went up against 
the west cliff. One brigade, Bonat's, followed 
by the Turks, crossed the river Alma at its 
mouth, and scaling the heights without difficulty, 
advanced — to do no more. His 15,000 men 
iTiet no enemy, and were put out of action for 
the rest of the day. Bosquet's other brigade. 

At this moment, it is generally thought, the 
allies were within reach of grave disaster. Had 
Mentschikoff been a Napoleon or a Wellington, 
with the genius to see and the skill to use his 
opportunity, he might now have dealt a crushing 
blow at the allies. He was in between his foes : 
one army was caught amongst a difficult country, 
and separated in two parts by a wide interval ; 
the other army, not yet engaged. Had he sent 
his cavalry to hold the English in check, just as 
the German cavalry at Mars la Tour with such 
desperate gallantry turned Bazaine back to 
Metz, he might have fallen upon Canrobert and 
almost eaten him up. The utter defeat of one 
French division at this early part of the day 
would have probably decided the battle, and in 
favour of the Russians. 

But such masterly tactics were not to be 
expected from such an incapable general. All 
Mentschikoff could do when Bosquet scaled the 



D'Autemare's, with which he rode in person, 
faced the stiff slope and surmounted it. Both 
men and guns got up, and were ready to go in 
and win ; but, like Bonat, they found nothing 
in front of them. Bosquet's successful climb had 
only placed him alone in an isolated and really 
■unsafe position. He was quite unsupported. 
Bonat was detached far away on his right ; 
Canrobert, his nearest neighbour, had got mixed 
up among the rocky, broken country above him, 
and could barely hold his own, much less ex- 
tend his hand. Next to Canrobert was Prince 
Napoleon ; but the latter hung back unaccount- 
ably — unless the stories afterwards published 
discrediting his courage are deemed true. 

v^'est cliff, was to hurry up eight battalions from 
his reserve to confront him ; then, hesitating to 
ioin issue, to march them back whence they 
came, and thus lose their services for more than 
an hour. His cavalry remained inactive till 
the golden opportunity was lost, and then he 
found himself so fiercely assailed by the hitherto 
despised English that he lost the power of the 

While the French were in this critical con- 
dition, the English, who were also jeopardised, 
still remained passive, halted, and lying down 
under a dropping artillery fire. But now, at 
length, Lord Raglan gave the signal for attack ; 
and the order was received with soldier-like glee 



by our troops, to whom the long inaction was 
very irksome. At last the battle was to be 
fought in real earnest, but to understand what 
follows we must realise exactly how our forces 
were arraj^ed. 

1. Sir De Lacy Evans with the 2nd Division 
stood next the 
French. His right 
rested on the 
village of Bour- 
liouk opposite the 
causeway bridge; 
his left joined on 
to and was rather 
jammed in with 
the right of — 

2. The Light 
Division under Sir 
George Brown, 
who faced the 
Kourgane hill, 
with its two re- 
doubts heavil}^ 
armed, and a gar- 
rison of eighteen 
battalions : a very 
formidable posi- 
tion to storm. 
At the same time 
his left was what 
soldiers call " in 
the air " — resting 
on nothing, that 
is to say, and ex- 

3. Immediately 
behind the Light 
Division came the Duke of Cambridge with the 
1st, composed of the Guards and the Highland 

4. The 3rd Division supported the 2nd, but at 
a long interval. 

5. The cavalry under Lords Cardigan and 
Lucan, not a thousand sabres, were held with- 
drawn to the left rear. 

6. The 4th Division of infantry were a long 
way behind, and did not come up till after the 

The first fighting fell to Evans, but at the 
moment of his advance the enemy set fire to the 
village of Bourliouk, which burst up into instan- 
taneous flames, and Evans, to avoid it, drew one 
brigade — Pennefather's — to the left, and sent the 
other — Adams' — by a long detour to his right, 
where it was in touch with the French. All 


Pennefather's men got across the river, but were 
stayed by the fierce fire of the causeway batteries ; 
and one of his regiments — the 95th — crushed in 
by the right of the Light Division, joined it and 
its fortunes for the rest of the day. Evans had 
thus only three battalions left, and with so 

scanty a force he 
could make no 
impression : he 
could but simply 
hold his ground 
beyond the river. 
Part of the 
Light Division, 
the right, or Cod- 
rington's Brigade, 
was soon engaged 
in a weightier 
battle. The left, 
or Buller's, also 
moved forward, 
but being en- 
trusted with the 
protection of the 
exposed flank of 
the whole arm}-, 
two of its regi- 
ments were held 
in hand while the 
rest became in- 
volved in Cod- 
rington's attack ; 
for this gallant 
soldier was no 
sooner across the 
iner with his regiments all disorganised, and in 
no sort of formation, than he led them immedi- 
ately forward. 

His superior officer, the divisional general, Sir 
George Brown, was not within hail, and Cod- 
rington felt that his plain duty was to go ahead. 
He himself headed the desperate charge upon the 
Great Redoubt, which was now made in quite 
inferior numbers, and in the teeth of a mur- 
derous fire of big guns. His colonels, especially 
Lacy Yea of the 7th Fusiliers, took the cue, and 
springing to the front cried to their men : 

" Come on — never mind forming ! Come on 

" Forward ! forward ! " was the universal cry 
of all ; pell-mell, higgledy-piggledy, but always 
straight on, the first brigade of the Light 
Division rushed up the slope. 

The Russians were really in tremendous 
strength. There were heavy columns of them all 

RA( ED forward" (/. I78). 



around ; the Redoubt was armed with twelve 
big guns, yet they could not resist an onslaught 
which seemed only the vanguard of an imposing 

There was another cause, no doubt, for their 
weakness, as we shall presently see ; but now 
already they were limbering up their guns and 
going to the rear. Then young Anstruther, a 
mere boy fresh from school, raced forward with 
the Queen's colour of the 23rd, and placed it 
triumphantly on the crown of the breastworks. 
He was shot dead, the colour falling with him. 
A sergeant, Luke O'Connor, following close, 
succeeded to his mission, and raised the flag 

He, too, was struck down, but would not yield, 

and although des- 
perately wounded, 
carried the colours 
for the rest of the 
day. This was the 
crisis of the fight; 
the flag was the 
rallying point ; 
crowds came rush- 
ing in, and the 
Redoubt was car- 
ried — for a time. 
The battle itself 
would probably 
have been com- 
pletely won had re- 
inforcements been 
at hand. But the ist Division, which had been 
ordered to support the Light Division, had not 
yet crossed the river. Its advance was hastened 
by the Quartermaster-General, General Airey, 
speaking for Lord Raglan, who, as we shall see, 
was at another part of the field. So the Duke 
of Cambridge moved forward, but slowly ; the 
Guards Brigade to the right, in line — a well- 
dressed two-deep "thin, red line,'' which kept its 
formation even when crossing the stream, each 
man walking on whatever was before him, 
shallow water or deep pool. On the left were 
Sir Colin Campbell's three famous Highland 
regiments — the 42nd,' 93rd, and 79th — advancing 
in an echelon of deployed lines, one behind and 
a little further to the left of the one in front 
of it. Such a stern arra}' would have more 
than sufficed to stiflFen our hold upon the Great 
Redoubt ; but it came too late, and other 
untoward events had also occurred. 

The Russians, of whom there were eighteen 
battalions in these parts, could not brook the 


loss of the Redoubt to what seemed only a 
handful of redcoats, and they came forward again 
in great strength to recover the work. The 
Vladimir regiment, approaching close, was mis- 
taken for a French column, and no one fired at 
it ; then some misguided English bugler sounded 
the " retire '' — by whose orders it was never ascer- 
tained — but the call was taken up and repeated, 
till at length, most reluctantly, Codrington'smen 
in possession of the Redoubt prepared to leave it. 
They clung for a time to its reverse slopes, but 
presently gave way, and under a murderous fire 
retreated down the hill. Only indomitable Lacy 
Yea, with his bold regiment, the 7th Fusiliers, 
refused to withdraw, and, in line against a 
column double his strength, alone maintained 
the fight. 

All this time the French were not prospering. 
Bosquet still clung, isolated, upon the west 
cliff ; Canrobert had climbed it, but had made 
no forward movement ; Prince Napoleon stood 
halted, irresolute, on the safe side of the river. 
The Russian general in command of the centre, 
which was posted around the Telegraph Height, 
now put in motion eight of his battalions, in 
dense double column, and crossed the plateau tc 
smite Canrobert, who forthwith crumbled back 
over the cliff. He had supports at hand — a 
brigade (D'Aurelle's) of Forev's Division, which 
was on the hilly road jammed in between him 
and Prince Napoleon, and the Prince himself 
w-as close behind ; but these supports were in 
marching columns, with no frontage for attack, 
and could not help Canrobert. Had Kiriakoff. 
the Russian general, pressed on, he would pro- 
bably have completely " rolled up '' the French, 
But he paused, and the battle meanwhile passed 
into a fres'n phase. 

Strange as it may seem, the turning-point in 
the action was a hazardous, and, speaking by the 
book, a perfectly indefensible step taken by the 
English commander-in-chief. Lord Raglan, with 
his staff and a few dragoons — not twenty horse- 
men in all — had ridden boldly, blindly, into the 
very centre of the enemy's line. He had gone 
down towards Bourliouk. but avoiding the burn- 
ing village, and, anxious to see what was in 
progress bevond the river, had dashed into it, 
crossed, and galloped up the opposite slope. 
He came out at a point under the Telegraph 
Height and above the causeway, and thence could 
survey at ease — for no enemy, happily, was 
near enough to injure him— the whole state of 
the batde. Better still, he looked into the 
enemy's line of defence, taking it in reverse^ and 



realised at once the supreme advantage his really 
dangerous position gave him. 

" If only we had a couple of guns up here ! " 
he cried, and two artillery officers — Dacres and 
Dickson, who rode with his staff — dashed off to 
fetch them, while General Airey was sent to 
bring up the nearest infantry, Adams' brigade of 
Evans' 2nd Division. 

The messengers found Turner's battery strug- 
gling across the ford, and Turner himself hurried 
up two of his guns, which were soon unlimbered 
and worked — one, at least — by Colonel Dickson's 
own hands. 

across the river in support of Codrington's 
discomfited brigade. The Russians on the hill 
now numbered some 15,000 men, part of them 
being the Vladimir column, which had retaken 
the Great Redoubt. A very stout resistance was 
made. The Scots Fusiliers were met with so 
bold a front and such a withering fire that they 
fell back in some disorder. It seemed as though 
the Grenadier . Guards would also be involved, 
but this regiment, under Colonel Hood, stood 
firm, and presently advanced in beautiful order 
— a well-dressed, steady line, as perfect as 
though it was in Hyde Park. To the left of the 

Bridge _ J «>»2~ it ^^ 

The Battle of the ALMA. 

Their very first shot was a surprise to the 
whole field. It proved to the enemy, whose 
guns were posted in advance in the causeway, 
that they had been taken in reverse and had 
better retire. It overjoyed Evans, who still stood 
checked by this causeway battery. " Hark ! 
that is an English gun," he cried, and prepared 
at once to advance, knowing that the barrier in 
front would soon be removed. And so it was. 
Evans swept forward triumphantly with his 
three remaining regiments, their left still covered 
by stout Lacy Yea and his splendid Fusiliers, who 
just about this time had finally conquered the 
Russian column with which they had so long 
been engaged. Yea's obstinate heroism had not 
only paved the way for the advance of the 
2nd Division, but it had made another attack 
possible upon the Kourgane' Hill. 

The Scots Fusilier Guards had been the first 
of the Duke of Cambridge's troops to get 

Scots Guards were the Coldstreams, anothei 
regiment in magnificent array, which had not 
been touched by the fire, and moved up the 
hill with admirable precision. The Duke of 
Cambridge rode with the Coldstreams. 

So fierce was the fight into which the Guards 
now entered, ^o strong the opposition, that some 
cried in alarm, "The Brigade will be destroyed." 
There was a talk of falling back, and then it 
was that stout old Sir Colin Campbell made his 
famous speech to the Duke : — " Better, sir, that 
every man in her Majesty's Guards should lie 
dead upon the field than that they should turn 
their backs upon the enemy." The Guards 
needed no stiffening — they were only too eager 
to get on. But Campbell did more than exhort 
in words. He had here, close at hand, his three 
superb Highland regiments, and he was ready to 
use them, to the last man, in support. 

The Highlanders were now on the left of the 



whole line. Although BuUer's two regiments 
on this extremity, the 88th and the 77th, had 
held their own during the day, they were now 
beginning to fall back. But Campbell took 
charge of the flank, and, despising the still 
irresolute Russian cavalry, he brought up his 

finished — " Now, men, the army will watch us : 
make me proud of the Highland Brigade ! " 
He was about to engage twelve battalions with 
his three ; each regiment as it advanced, the 
42nd first, seemed to be outflanked by a 
heavy column ; but beyond each flank came the 


deployed regiments in echelon, and prolonging 
our line, threw them at the Russian right. 
Our front was very extensive, for the line was 
only the depth of two men ; but it looked so 
threatening, that the Russian general, Gorts- 
chakoff", concluding there were heavy masses 
behind, thought himself outnumbered and 

Sir Colin spoke a few words ot encouragement 
to his men. " Be steady — keep silence — fire 
lo\y ; " and then, with fierce emphasis, he 

next regiment in the echelon behind, and in 
this formation the Highlanders carried all before 
them. The Russians, after another despairing 
and unavailing stand, began to retreat, and the 
Guards and Highlanders took possession of the 
Kourgane Hill. 

All this time Lord Raglan had held his 
ground — no longer perilous — above the cause- 
wa}- ; but now he was joined b}- Adams' two 
regiments, and a red line was seen surmounting 
the slope. He left them there, to be used, if needs 




were, in hastening the retreat of the Russian 
columns ; a brigade of the 3rd Division, Eyre's, 
had also arrived, and was across the Bourliouk 
bridge. NoW^ the French made head against 
Kiriakoff, who could not hold out with his com- 
rades in full retreat ; and as he fell back Canrobert 
came on, and, gaining the heights, took full 
possession of the Telegraph Hill. There was 
ver}'^ little more fighting to be done, except with 
a handful of forgotten riflemen : the Russians 
were gone. Following Canrobert, Prince Napo- 
leon and D'Aurelle advanced, so that soon two 
strong and unbroken French divisions and a 
whole brigade occupied the ground. 

Then followed the grievous mistake of not 
following up the beaten enemy. It was clear 
that the English could not do this with effect : 
the bulk of our men had been engaged, we had 
suffered seveiely, and the survivors were worn 

out with their exertions. Our cavalry could do 
little against the Russian, which was still quite 
fresh, and ready, if not too anxious, to cover 
the retreat. Lord Raglan hoped that the 
French would now reap the full advantage ot 
the victory, and urged St. Arnaud to press on in 
pursuit. The only answer was that any further 
advance of the French that day was " impossible.' 
The men, when moving up to the attack, had 
left their knapsacks on the other side of the 
river, and they could not go on without them. 
So the Russian army, which was now nearly 
dissolved, a broken, helpless mass of fugitives, 
was suffered to continue its headlong retreat upon 
Sebastopol. A little more energy on the part 
of the victors would have dealt a crushing blow 
and probably annihilated it. 

In this first error was sown the seeds of the 
long and disastrous siege of Sebastopol. 

{Front the Painting by Andrew Morton.) 

1 83 



oggg>-g''S)se)gl■£)<s^S)glgl^g>g)lSlaag>g)glglg)'g'g)<^)<s®<s^g>g'e><^>g)g>ia)g)g>e)(ag)g) <s>] 

N the 2 1 St of November, 1805, a striking 
and warlike cavalcade was traversing 
at a slow pace a wide and elevated 
plateau in Moravia. In front, on a 
grey barb, rode a short, sallow-faced man 
with dark hair and a quick, eager glance, 
whose notice nothing seemed to escape. His 
dress was covered by a grey overcoat, which 
met a pair of long riding-boots, and on his head 
was a low, weather-stained cocked hat. He was 
followed by a crowd of officers, evidently of high 
rank, for their uniforms, saddle-cloths, and 
plumed hats were heavily laced, and they had 
the bold, dignified bearing of leaders of men. 
In front and in the flanks of the party were 
scattered watchful vedettes, and behind fol- 
lowed a strong squadron of picked cavalry in 
dark green dolmans with furred pelisses slung 
over their shoulders, and huge fur caps sur- 
mounted by tall red plumes. The leading horse- 
man rode in silence over the plateau, first to one 
point then to another, examining with anxious 
care every feature of the ground. He marked 
carefully the little village from which the 
expanse took its name, and the steep declivity 
which sloped to a muddy stream below. No 
one addressed him, for he was a man whose 
train of thought was not to be lightly inter- 
rupted. Suddenly, at length, he drew rein, 
and, turning to the body of officers, said : 
"Gentlemen, examine this ground carefully. 
It will be a field of battle, upon which you will 
all have a part to play." The speaker was 
Napoleon. His hearers were his generals and 
staff. He had been reconnoitring, surrounded 
and guarded by his devoted Chasseurs of the 
Guard, the plateau of Pratzen, the main part of 
the arena where was to be fought in a few days 
the mighty conflict of Austerlitz. 

Napoleon's headquarters were then at Brunn. 
The French host, then for the first time called 
the " Grand Army," had, at the command of its 

great chief, in the beginning of September 
broken up the camps long occupied on the 
coasts of France in preparation for a contem- 
plated invasion of England, and had directed its 
march to the Rhine. It was formed in seven 
corps under. Bernadotte, Marmont, Davoust, 
Soult, Lannes, Ney, and Augereau, with its 
cavalry under Prince Murat, and the Imperial 
Guard as a reserve. 

The Rhine was crossed at different points, and 
the tide of invasion swept upon the valley of the 
Danube. From the beginning the movements 
had been made with a swiftness unprecedented 
in war. Guns and cavalry had moved in cease- 
less and unhalting stream along every road. 
Infantry had pressed forward by forced marches, 
and had been aided in its onward way by 
wheeled transport at every available oppor- 
tunity. The Emperor had resolved to strike 
a blow by land against his foes which should 
counterbalance the several checks which the 
indomitable navy of England had inflicted on 
his fleets at sea. Austria and Russia were in 
arms against France, and he was straining every 
nerve to encounter and shatter their separate 
forces before they would unite in overwhelming 
power. The campaign had opened for him with 
a series of brilliant successes. The veterans of 
the revolutionary wars, of Ital}- and of Egypt, 
directed by his mighty genius, had proved them- 
selves irresistible. The Austrians had been the 
first to meet the shock, and had been defeated 
at every point — Guntzberg, Haslach, Albeck, 
Elchingen, Memmingen — and the first phase of 
the struggle had closed with the capitulation at 
Ulm of General Mack with 30,000 men. 

But there had been no stay in the rush of the 
victorious French. The first defeats of the 
Austrian army had been rapidly followed up. 
The corps which had escaped from the disaster 
at Ulm were pursued and, one after another^ 
annihilated. The Tyrol was overrun, and its 

1 84 


strong positions occupied by Marshal Ney. 
From Italy came the news of Alassena's 
successes against the celebrated Archduke 
Charles, and at Dirnstein Marshal Mortier had 
defeated the first Russian army under Kutusow. 
The Imperial headquarters had been established 
at Schonbrunn, the home of the Emperor of 
Austria. Vienna had been occupied and the 
bridge across the Danube secured by Lannes and 
Murat. Kutusow, after his defeat at Dirnstein, 
had been driven back through Hollabrunn on 

camp at Boulogne was left, that the common 
saying passed in the ranks that " Our Emperor 
does not make use of our arms in this war so 
much as of our legs " ; and the grave result of 
this constant swiftness had been that many 
soldiers had fallen to the rear from indisposition 
or fatigue, and even the nominal strength of 
corps was thus for the time seriously diminished. 
It is recorded that in the Chasseurs a Cheval 
of the Guard alone there was a deficiency of 
more than four hundred men from this cause. 

'the saying passed, 'our emperor does not make use of our arms in this war so MUCH AS Oi- OUR LEGS 

Brunn by the same marshals at the head of the 
French advanced guard, and had now joined 
the second Russian army, with which was its 
Emperor Alexander in person, and an Austrian 
force under Prince Lichtenstein, accompanied by 
the Emperor of Austria. 

The main body of the " Grand Army "' had, 
under Napoleon, followed its advanced guard 
into the heart of Moravia. Its headquarters 
and immediate base were now at Brunn, but its 
position was sufficiently critical, at the extremity 
of a long line of operations, numbering less 
than 70,000 disposable men, while the Russo- 
Austrian army in front amounted to 92,000. 
So rapid had been the mo\ements since the 

But all these laggards were doing their best to 
rejoin the army before the great battle took 
place which all knew to be inevitable, and in 
which all were eager to bear their part. 

Napoleon had himself arrived at Brunn on 
the 20th of November, and during the following 
days till the 27th he allowed his army a measure 
of repose to enable it to recover its strength 
after its long toils — to repair its arms, its boots 
and worn material, and to rally every man under 
its eagles. His advanced guard had been pushed 
forward under Murat towards Wischau on the 
Olmutz road, Soult's corps on his right had 
pressed Kutusow's retreat towards Austerlitz, 
and the remainder were disposed in various 



positions to watch Hungary and Bohemia and to 
maintain his hold upon Vienna. 

On the 27th the French advanced guard was 
attacked and driven back by the Russians at 
Wischau, and certain information arrived that 
this had been done by a portion of the main 
Russian army under the Emperor Alexander. 
It had been thought possible by Napoleon that 
peaceful nego- 
tiations might 
be opened, but 
this confident 
advance of his 
enemies seemed 
to show that 
they had by no 
means lost 
heart, and when 
on the 28th he 
had a personal 
interview with 
Prince Dolgo- 
rouki, the fa- 
vourite of Alex- 
ander, he found 
the Russian pro- 
posals so insult- 
i ng and pre- 
sumptuous thai 
he broke oft" 
abruptly any 
further commu- 

We have seen 
Napoleon recon- 
noitring on the 
2 1 St of Novem- 
ber, and we have 
marked the 
marvellous coup 
d^oei'l and pre- 
science with 

which he foresaw the exact spot where the 
great battle, then looming before him, must take 
place. Every succeeding day saw the recon- 
naissances renewed, and never was a battle-field 
more thoroughly examined, never was forecast 
by a general of the actual turn of events 
to be expected more completely justified by 

It had become certain that the united army 
of two mighty empires was close at hand. From 
the tone of Dolgorouki's communication it was 
evident that both the Russian and Austrian 
monarchs had resolved to trust their fortunes to 

{From the Paintini 

the ordeal of battle, and that they, with their 
generals and soldiery, were eager to retrieve 
their previous misfortunes, and full of confidence 
that they would do so. That confidence had 
been increased by the repulse of the French 
advanced guard at Wischau ; and they now 
longed to complete their work by pouring their 
superior numbers on the comparatively weak 

French main 

With this 
knowledge be- 
fore him, Na- 
poleon pro- 
ceeded to carry 
out the plan of 
action which he 
had carefully 
matured. To 
the astonish- 
ment of many 
veterans in his 
army, a general 
retreat of iiis 
advanced trof^ps 
was ordered. 
Murat fell back 
from Posoritz 
and Soult from 
near Austerlitz. 
But this retro- 
grade movement 
was short, and 
they were halted 
on the ground 
chosen by Na- 
poleon for his 
battle-line. The 
outlying corps 
of Bernadotte 
and Davoust 
were summoned 
to complete his array. Munitions, food, ambu- 
lances were hurried to their appointed posts, and 
it was announced that the battle would be 
fought on the ist or 2nd of December. 

The line of a muddy stream, called the Gold- 
bach, marked the front of the French army. 
This stream takes its source across the Olmutz 
road, and flowing through a dell, of which the 
sides are steep, discharges itself into the .Mcnitz 
Lake. At the top of its high left bank stretches 
the wide Pratzen plateau, and it appeared to 
Napoleon's staff" that he had made an error in 
relinquishing such a vantage ground to his 


\ by Paul Delaroclie.) 

1 86 


enemy ; but he to!d them that he had done so 
of set purpose, saving, '' If I remained master of 
this fine plateau, I could here check the Russians, 
but then I should only have an ordmary victory ; 
whereas by giving it up to them and refusing 
my right, if they dare to descend from these 
heights in order to outflank me, I secure that 
they shall be lost beyond redemption." 

Let us examine the positions occupied by the 
French and the Austro-Russian armies at the 
close of November, and we shall the better 
understand the general strateg}' of the two 
combatant forces and the tactics which each 
made use of when they came into collision. The 
Emperor Napoleon rested his left, under Lannes 
and Murat, on a rugged eminence, which those 
of his soldiers who had served in Egypt called 
the " Santon," because its crest was crowned by 
a little chapel, of which the roof had a fancied 
resemblance to a minaret. This eminence he 
had strengthened with field works, armed and 
provisioned like a fortress. He had, by repeated 
visits, satisfied himself that his orders were 
properly carried out, and he had committed its 
defence to special defenders under the command 
of General Claparede, impressing upon them 
that they must be prepared to fire their last 
cartridge at their post and, if necessary, there to 
die to the last man. 

His centre was on the right bank of the 
Goldbach. There were the corps of Soult and 
Bernadotte, the Grenadiers of Duroc and Oudinot, 
and the Imperial Guard with forty guns. Their 
doubled lines were concealed by the windings of 
the stream, b}- scattered clumps of wood, and by 
the features of the ground. 

His right was entrusted to Davoust's corps, 
summoned in haste to the battle-field, and of 
which only a division of infantry- and one of 
Dragoons had been able to come into line. They 
were posted at Menitz, and held the defiles 
passing the Menitz Lake and the two other 
lakes of Telnitz and Satschau. Napoleon's line 
of battle was thus an oblique one, with its right 
thrown back. It had the appearance of being 
only defensive, if not actualh' timid, its centre 
not more than sufficiently occupied, its right 
extremely weak, and only its left formidable and 
guaranteed against any but the most powerful 
attack. But the great strategist had weighed 
well his methods. He trusted that the foe 
would be tempted to commit themselves to an 
attack on his right, essa3-ing to cut his communi- 
caiions and line of retreat on Vienna. If they 
could be led into this trap, the difficulty or 

movement in the ground cut up by lake, 
stream, and marsh would give to Davoust the 
power to hold them in check until circumstances 
allowed of aid being given to him. Meantime, 
with his left impregnable and his centre read}' to 
deal a crushing blow, he expected to be able to 
operate against the Russo-Austrian flank and 
rear with all the advantage due to unlooked-for 

The right of the Russo-Austrians, commanded 
b}' the Princes Bagration and Lichtenstein, rested 
on a wooded hill near Posoritz across the Olmutz 
road. Their centre, under Kollowrath, occupied 
the village of Pratzen and the large surrounding 
plateau ; while their left, under Doctorof and 
Kienmayer, stretched towards the Satschau Lake 
and the adjoining marshes. 

The village of Austerlitz was some distance 
in rear of the Russo-Austrian position, and had 
no immediate connection with the movements 
of the troops employed on either side, but the 
Emperors of Russia and Austria slept in it on 
the night before the battle, and Napoleon 
afterwards accentuated the greatness of his 
victory- by naming it after the place from which 
he had chased them. 

The two great armies now in presence of each 
other were markedly unequal in strength — * 
92,000 men were opposed to 70,000, and the 
advantage of 22,000 was to the allies. But this 
inequality was to a great extent compensated 
by the tactical dispositions of the leader of the 
weaker force. Of the two antagonist lines, one 
was wholly exposed to view, the other to a great 
extent concealed — first advantage to the latter. 
They formed, as it were, two parallel arcs of a 
circle, but that of the French was the more 
compact and uninterrupted — second advantage ; 
and this last was soon to be increased by the im- 
prudent Russian manoeuvres. The two armies, 
barely at a distance of two cannon-shot from 
each other, had by mutual tacit consent formed 
their bivouacs, piled arms, fed and reposed 
peaceably round their fires, the one covered by 
a thick cloud of Cossacks, the other by a sparse 
line of vedettes. 

Napoleon quitted Brunn early in the morning 
of the 1st December, and employed the whole of 
that day in e.xamining the positions which the 
different portions of his army occupied. His 
headquarters were established in rear of the 
centre of his line at a high point, from which 
could be seen the bivouacs of both French and 
allies, as well as the ground on which the 
morrow's issue would be fought out. The cold 



was intense, but there was no snow. The only 
shelter that could be found ^br the ruler of 
France was a dilapidated hut, in which were 
placed the Emperor's table and maps. 

The Grenadiers had made up a huge fire 
hard by, and his travelling car/Iage was drawn 
up, in which he could take such sleep as his 
anxieties would permit. The divisions of Duroc 
and Oudinot bivouacked between him and the 
enemy, while the Guard lay round him and 
towards the rear. 

In the late afternoon of the same day Napoleon 
was watching the allied position through his 
telescope. On the Pratzen plateau could be 
seen a general flank movement of Russian 
columns, in rear of their first line, from their 
centre to their left and towards the front of the 
French position at Telnitz. It was evidently 
supposed by the enemy that the French intended 
to act only on the defensive, that nothing was 
to be feared from them in front, and that the 
allies had only to throw their masses on their 
right, cut off their retreat upon Vienna, and 
thus inflict upon them a certain and disastrous 
defeat. It was forgotten by the Russo-Austrians 
that in thus moving their principal forces to the 
left, the centre of their position was weakened, 
and on the right their own line of operations 
and retreat was left entirely unprotected. When 
Napoleon detected what was being done, trembling 
with satisfaction and clapping his hands, he 
said: "What a manoeuvre to be ashamed of! 
They are running into the trap ! They are 
giving themselves up ! Before to-morrow even- 
ing that army will be in my hands! " In order 
still more to add to the confidence of his enemy 
and to encourage them in the prosecution of 
their mistaken plan, he ordered Murat to sally 
forth from his own position with some cavalry, to 
manoeuvre as if showing uneasiness and hesita- 
tion, and then to retire with an air of alarm. 
This order given, he returned immediately to 
his bivouac, dictated and issued the famous 
pioclamation in which he assured his army that 
the Austro-Russians were exposing their flank 
and were offering certain glor}' to the soldiers of 
France as a reward for their valour in the 
coming struggle : he said that he himself would 
direct their battalions, but that he would not 
expose himself to danger unless success was 
doubtful, and he promised that, after their 
victory, they should have comfortable canton- 
ments and peace. 

The evening of the ist of December closed 
in. The allied movement towards their left was 

still continuing, and Napoleon, after renewing 
his orders, agam visiting his parks and ambu- 
lances and satisfying himself by his own observa- 
tion that ah was in order, threw himself on a 
bundle ot straw and slept. About eleven o'clock 
he was awakened and told that a sharp attack 
had been made on one of the villages occupied 
by his right, but that it had been repulsed. This 
further confirmed his forecast of the allied move- 
ments, but, wishing to make a last reconnaissance 
of his enem3^'s position, he again mounted, and, 
followed by Junot, Duroc, Berthier, and some 
others of his stafi^, he ventured between the 
two armies. As he closely skirted the enemy's 
line of outposts, in spite of several warnings 
that he was incurring great risk, he, in the dark- 
ness, rode into a picquet of Cossacks. These 
sprang to arms and attacked him so suddenly 
that he would certainly have been killed or 
taken prisoner if it had not been for the devoted 
courage of his escort, which engaged the 
Cossacks while he turned his horse and galloped 
back to the French lines. His escape was so 
narrow and precipitate that he had to pass 
without choosing his way the .marshy Goldbach 
stream. His own horse and those of several of 
his attendants — amongst others Ywan, his 
surgeon, who never left his person — were for 
a time floundering helpless in the deep mud, 
and the Emperor was obliged to make his way 
on foot to his headquarters past the fires round 
which his soldiery were lying. In the obscurity 
he stumbled over a fallen tree-trunk ; and it 
occurred to a grenadier who saw him, to twist 
and use some straw as a torch, holding it over 
his head to light the path of his sovereign. 

In the middle of the anxious night, full of 
disquietude and anticipation, the eve of the 
anniversary of the Emperor's coronation, the 
face of Napoleon, lighted up and suddenly dis- 
played by this flame, appeared almost as a 
vision to the soldiers of the nearest bivouacs. A 
cry was raised, " It is the anniversary of the 
coronation ! Vive I'Empereur ! " — an outburst 
of loyal ardour which Napoleon in vain 
attempted to check with the words, " Silence 
till to-morrow. Now you have only to sharpen 
your bayonets." But the same thought, the 
same cry, was taken up and flew with lightning 
quickness from bivouac to bivouac. All made 
torches of whatever material was at hand. 
Some pulled down the field-shelters for the 
purpose — some used the straw that had been 
collected to form their beds ; and in an instant, 
as if by enchantment, thousands of lights flared 



upwards along the whole French line, and by 
thousands of voices the cry was repeated, " Vive 
I'Empereur ! " Thus was improvised, within 
sight of the astonished enemy, the most 
striking of illuminations, the most memorable of 
demonstrations, by which the admiration and 
devotion of a whole army have ever been shown 
to its general. It is said that the Russians 
believed the French to be burning their shelters 
as a preliminary to retreat, and that their con- 
fidence was thereby increased. As to Napoleon, 
though at first annoyed at the outburst, he was 
soon gratified and 
deeply touched by 
the heart-felt en- 
thusiasm displayed, 
and said that " This 
night is the happiest 
of m3^ life." For 
some time he con- 
tinued to move from 
bivouac to bivouac, 
telling his soldiers 
how much he appre- 
ciated their affection , 
and saying those 
kindly and encour- 
aging words which 
no one better than 
he knew how to 

The morning be- 
gan to break on the 
2nd of December. 
As he buckled on 
his sword, Napoleon 
said to the stafi 
gathered round — 
" Now, gentlemen, 

let us commence a great day." He mounted, 
and from different points were seen arriving 
to receive his last orders the renowned chiefs 
of his various corps-d'anncc^ each followed 
by a single aide-de-camp. There were Marshal 
Prince Murat, Marshal Lannes, Marshal Soult, 
Marshal Bernadotte, and Marshal Davoust. 
What a formidable circle of men, each of 
whom had already gathered glory on many 
different fields I Murat, distinctively the cavalr}- 
general of France, the intrepid paladin who had 
led his charging squadrons on all the battle- 
fields of Italy and Egj-pt ; Lannes, whose 
prowess at Montebello had made victorv certain ; 
Soult, the veteran of the long years of war on 
the Rhine and in Germany, the hero of Alten- 

{Front the Painting by Gerard.) 

kitchen, and Massena's most distinguished 
lieutenant at the battle of Ziirich ; Bernadotte, 
not more renowned as a general in the field 
than as the minister of war who prepared the 
conquest of Holland ; Davoust, the stern disci- 
plinarian and leader, unequalled for cool 
gallantry and determination — all were gathered 
at this supreme moment round one of the 
greatest masters of war in ancient or modern 
times, to receive his inspiration and to part 
like thunder-clouds bearing the storm which 
was to shatter the united armies of two Empires. 

The Emperor's 
general plan of ac- 
tion was already 
partly known, but 
he now repeated it 
to his marshals in 
detail. He was more 
than ever certain, 
from the last reports 
which he had re- 
ceived, that the 
enemy was continu- 
ing the flank move- 
ment, and would 
hurl the heaviest 
attacks on the 
French right near 

To Davoust was 
entrusted the duty 
of holding the ex- 
treme right and 
checking, in the 
defiles formed by the 
lakes, the heads of 
the enemv's columns 
which, since the pre 
vious day, had been more and more entangling 
themselves in these difificult passes. 

Of Soult's three divisions, one was to assist 
Davoust on the right, while the other two, 
already formed in columns of attack, were to 
hold themselves ready to throw their force on 
the Pratzen plateau. 

Bernadotte's two divisions were to advance 
against the same position on Soult's left. This 
combined onslaught of four divisions on the 
centre of the Russo-Austrians which they had 
weakened by the movement to their left, would 
be supported by the Emperor himself with the 
Imperial Guard and the Grenadiers of Oudinot 
and Duroc. Lannes was ordered to hold the 
left, particularly the " Santon " height ; while 



Prince Murat, at the head of his horsemen, \vas 
to charge through the intervals of the infantry 
upon the aUied cavalry which appeared to be in 
great strength in that part of the field. 

It was thus Napoleon's intention to await 
and check the eneiTi>'s attacks which might be 
expected on both his flanks, and more especially 
on his right, while hs himself made a deter- 
mined and formidable forward movement 
against their centre, where he hoped to cut 

heights, th'e sun rose, brilliantly piercing the 
mist and lighting the battle-field — the " Sun of 
Austerlitz," of which Napoleon ever after loved 
to recall the remembrance. 

The moment of action for the French centre 
had come, and the corps of Soult and Berna- 
dotte, led by the divisions of Vandamme and 
St. Hilaire, rushed forwards. No influence that 
could animate the minds of these gallant 
troops was v>-anting. They fought directly 

"thousands of lights flared upwards" {p. 188.) 

them in two, and then, from the dominant 
position of the Pratzen plateau, turn an over- 
whelming force against the masses on their too- 
far-advanced left, which, entangled and cramped 
in its action among the lakes, would then be 
crushed or forced to yield as prisoners. 

It was eight o'clock. The thick wintry mist 
hung in the valley of the Goldbach and rolled 
upwards to the Pratzen plateau. Its obscurity, 
heightened by the lingering smoke of bivouac 
fires, concealed the French columns of attack. 
The thunder of artillery and the rattle of 
musketry told that the allied attack on the 
French right had begun and was being strenu- 
ously resisted, while silence and darkness reigned 
over the rest of the line. Suddenly, over the 

under the eye of their Emperor. They were led 
by chiefs in whom they had implicit confidence. 
Their ardour was fired by the proclamation 
which had been issued on the previous evening, 
and the bands accompanied their regiments, 
playing the old attack march — 

On va leur percer le flanc 
Rataplan, tire lire en plan ! " 

The Pratzen height was escaladed at the 
double, attacked in front and on the right and 
left, and the appearance of the assailants was so 
sudden and unexpected, as they issued from 
the curtain of mist, that the Russians were 
completely surprised. They had no defensive 
formation ready, and were still occupied in the 



movement towards their left. TlTey hastily 
formed in three lines, however, and some of 
their artiller}' were able to come into action. 
Their resistance was feeble. One after another, 
their lines, broken by the stern bayonet charge, 
were driven back in hopeless confusion, and 
at nine o'clock Napoleon was master of the 
Pratzen plateau. 

Meanwhile, on the left, Lannes and Murat 
were fighting an independent battle with the 
Princes Lichtenstein and Bagration. Murat, as 
the senior marshal and brother-in-law of the 
Emperor, was nominally the superior ; but, in 
real fact, Lannes directed the operations of the 
infantry, which Alurat powerfully supplemented 
and aided with his cavalry. General CafFarelli's 
division was formed on the plain on Lannes's 
right, while General Suchet's division was on 
his left, supported by the " Santon " height, 
from which poured the fire of eighteen heavy 
guns. The light cavalry brigades of Milhaud 
and Treilhard were pushed forward in observa- 
tion across the high road to Olmutz. The 
cavalry divisions of Kellermann, Walther, 
Nansouty, and d'Hautpoul were disposed in two 
massive columns of squadrons on the right of 
CaffarelH. Against this array were brought 
eighty-two squadrons of cavalry under Lichten- 
stein, supported by the serried divisions of 
Bagration's infantry and a heavy force of 

The combat was commenced by the light 
cavalry cf Kellermann, which charged and 
overthrew the Russo- Austrian advanced 
guard. Attacked in turn by the Uhlans of the 
Grand Duke Constantine, Kellermann retired 
through the intervals of Caffarelli's division, 
which, by a well-sustained fire in two ranks, 
checked the Uhlans and emptied many of their 
saddles. Kellermann re-formed his division 
and again charged, supported by Sebastiani's 
brigade of Dragoons. Then followed a succes- 
sion of charges by the chivalry of France, led by 
Murat with all the elan of his boiling courage. 
Kellermann, Walther, and Sebastiani were all 
wounded, the first two generals seriously. In 
the last of these charges the 5th Chasseurs, 
commanded by Colonel Corbineau, broke the 
formation of a Russian battalion and captured 
its standard. Caffarelli's infantry were close at 
hand, and, pushing forward, made an Austrian 
battalion lay down its arms. A regiment of 
Russian Dragoons made a desperate advance to 
rescue their comrades, and, mistaking them for 
Bavarians in the smoke and turmoil, Murat 

ordered the French infantry to cease firing, 
The Russian Dragoons, thus encountering no re- 
sistance, penetrated the French ranks and almost 
succeeded in taking Murat himself prisoner. 
But, consummate horseman and man-at-arms 
as he was, he cut his way to safety through the 
enemy, at the head of his personal escort. 

The allie:5 profited by this diversion to again 
assume the offensive. Then came the oppor 
tunit}- for the gigantic Cuirassiers of Nansouty. 
which hurled the Russian cavalry back upon 
their infantrv, and, in three successive on- 
slaughts, scattered the infantry itself, inflicting 
terrible losses with their long, heavy swords and 
seizing eight pieces of artillery. The whole of 
Caffarelli's division advanced, supported by one 
of Bernadotte's divisions from the centre, and, 
changing its front to the right, cut* the centre 
of Bagration's infantry, driving its greater part 
towards Pratzen, separated from those who still 
fought at the extremity of their line. 

The Austro-Russian cavalry rallied in support 
of Bagration, who was now hotl}' pressed by 
Suchet. Then came a magnificently combined 
movement of Dragoons, Cuirassiers, and infantry. 
The Dragoons drove back the Austro-Russiar 
squadrons behind their infantr3\ Simultaneously 
followed the levelled bayonets of Suchet's 
division and the crushing shock of d'Hautpoul's 
mailclad warriors. The victory was decided — 
the Russian battalions were crushed, losing a 
standard, eleven guns, and 1,800 prisoners. The 
rout was completed by the rapid advance of 
the light cavalry brigades of Treilhard and 
Milhaud on the left, and of Kellermann on the 
right, which swept away all that encountered 
them, and drove the shattered allied troops 
towards the village of Austerlitz. The Russo- 
Austrian losses on this part of the field of battle 
amounted to 1,200 or 1,500 killed, 7,000 or 8,000 
prisoners, two standards, and twenty-seven pieces 
of artiller5^ 

While Napoleon had thus struck a heavj 
blow at the allied centre and had been com- 
pletely victorious on his left, his right, under 
Davoust, was with difficulty holding its own 
against Buxhowden (who had assumed the com- 
mand of the columns of Doctorof and Kienmaj-er), 
and but that the masses brought against it were 
unable to deploy their strength it must inevit- 
ably have been crushed. Thirty thousand 
foemen of all arms were pressing in assault upon 
10,000 French, already wearied by a long and 
rapid march to their position at Ravgern. But 
Davoust was able to concentr.'ite what power he 

"Simultaneously followed the levelled bayonets ofSuchets Division" (/. 190). 



had, and to meet at advantage the heads only of 
the cokimns which were winding their way 
along the narrow passes that opened between 
the lakes and through the marshy ground in hi*: 
front. Even so the strain was terrible, and 
Vv"ould have been more than less hard}' troops 
under a less able and determined leader could 
have stood. But Napoleon was quite alive to 
the necessities of the gallant soldiers who were 
standing their ground so staunchly. He ordered 
nis reserve of Grenadiers and the Imperial Guard 
to move up to the support of his right centre 
and to threaten the flank of the columns that 
were attacking Davoust, while he also directed 
the two divisions of Soult's corps, which had 
made the attack on the Pratzen plateau against 
Buxhowden's rear. 

It was one o'clock, and at this moment, while 
the orders just given were being e.xecuted, the 
Russian infantry, supported by the Russian 
Imperial Guard, made a desperate eflFort to 
retrieve the fortunes of the day near Pratzen, 
and threw themselves in a fierce bayonet charge 
on the divisions of Vandamme and St. Hilaire, 
which oflTered a stout resistance. But, with the 
Russian Guard ready to join in the combat, the 
odds against the French divisions were too great. 
It was the crisis of the day. 

Napoleon, from the commanding position 
where he stood, saw before him the Emperor 
Alexander's guard advancing in dense masses 
to regain their morning position and to sweep 
before them his men, wearied and harassed by 
the day's struggle. At the same time he heard 
on his right the redoubled fire of the advanced 
Russian left, which was pressing Davoust and 
was threatening his rear. From the continued 
and increasing roar of musketry and artiller}' it 
almost seemed as if success must, after all, attend 
the great flank movement of the allies. Small 
wonder if even his war-hardened nerves felt a 
thrill of confusion and anxiety when he saw 
dimly appearing through the battle smoke 
another black mass of moving troops. 

" Ha ! Can those, too, be Russians ? " he 
exclaimed to the solitary staflF-officer whom the 
exigencies of the day had still left at his side. 
Another look reassured him, however. The tall 
bearskins of the moving column showed him 
that it was his own Guard, which, under Duroc, 
was moving towards the lakes to the support 
of Soult and Davoust. His right and rear were, 
at any rate, so far safe. 

But the Russian infantry attack had been 
followed by a headlong charge of the Chevalier 

Guards and Cuirassiers of the Russian Guard, 
under the Grand Duke Constantine, brother of 
the Emperor Alexander, supported by numerous 
lines of cavalry. So well led and so impetuous 
was the attack, that the two battalions on 
the left of Vandamme's division were broken 
and swept away in headlong flight. One of 
these battalions belonged to the 4th of the line, 
of which Napoleon's brother Joseph was colonel, 
and the Emperor saw it lose its eagle and 
abandon its position, shattered and destroyed, 
forming the one dark spot to suUv the brilliancy 
of French steadfastness on that day of self- 
devotion. The tide of panic-stricken fugitives 
almost surged against the Em.peror himself. All 
efforts to rally them were in vain. Maddened 
with fear, they heard not the voices of generals 
and officers imploring them not to abandon the 
field of honour and their Emperor. Their ovAy 
response was to gasp out mechanically : '' Vive 
I'Empereur ! " while still hurrying their frantic 
pace. Napoleon smiled at them in pity ; then, 
with a gesture of contempt, he said : " Let them 
go ! " and, still calm in the midst of the turmoil, 
sent General Rapp to bring up the cavalry of 
his Guard. 

Rapp was titular Colonel of the Mamelukes, a 
corps which recalled the glories of Egj'pt and the 
personal regard which Napoleon, as a man, had 
been able to inspire into Orientals. They, with 
the Grenadiers a Cheval and the Chasseurs of the 
Guard, now swooped upon the Russian squadrons. 
The struggle of the me/e'e was bloodv and 
obstinate between the picked horsemen o1 
Western and Eastern Europe ; but the Russian 
chivalry was at length overwhelmed and driven 
back with immense loss. Manv standards and 
prisoners fell into, tlie hands of the French, 
amongst others Prince Repnin, Colonel of the 
Chevalier Guards. His regiment, whose ranks 
were filled with men of the noblest families in 
Russia, had fought with a valour worthy of their 
name, and lay almost by ranks upon the field. 
It had been the mark of the giant Grenadiers a 
Cheval, whose savage war-cry in the great charge 
had been, as they swayed their heavy sabres, 
" Let us make the dames of St. Petersburg weep 
to-day ! " 

When success was assured, Rapp returned 
to report to Napoleon — a warlike figure, as he 
approached, alone, at a gallop, with proud mien, 
the light of battle in his eye, his sword dripping 
with blood and a sabre cut on his forehead. 

•' Sire, we have overthrown and destroyed the 
Russian Guard and taken their artillery.'' 



"It was galhntly done : I saw it." replied the 
Emperor. "Buc you are wounded." 

*' It is nothing, sire : it is only a scratch.'' 

*■ It is another quartering of nobility, and I 
know of none that can be more illustrious." 

Immediately afterwards the young Count 
Apraxin. an officer of artillery who had been 
taken prisoner by the Chasseurs, was brought 
before Napoleon. He struggled, wept, and wrung 
his hands in despair, crying: "I have lost my 
battery ; I am dishonoured : would that I could 

part of the Guard, he entrusted the final 
crushing of the enemies who had been driven 
from the Pratzen plateau ; while he himself, with 
all of Soult's corps, the remainder of his cavalry, 
infantry, and reserve artillery descended from 
the heights and threw himself on the rear of the 
Austro-Russian left near Telnitz and the lakes. 
This unfortunate wing— nearly 30,000 men — 
had in vain striven since the morning to force 
its way through Davcust's 10,000. Now, still 
checked in front and entangled in the narrow 


die I " Napoleon tried to console and soothe him 
with the words, " Calm yourself, young man, 
and learn that there is never disgrace in being 
conquered by Frenchmen." 

The French army was now completely suc- 
cessful on its centre and left. In the distance 
could be seen, retiring tOAvards Austerlitz, the 
remains of the Russian reserves, which had 
relinquished hope of regaining the central 
plateau and abandoned Buxhowden's Aving to 
its fate. Their retreat was harassed by the 
artillery of the Imperial Guard, whose fire 
ploughed through their long columns, carrying 
with it death and consternation. Napoleon left 
to Murat and Lannes the completion of their 
own victory. To Bernadotte, with the greater 

roads by the Goldbach and the lakes, it found 
itself in hopeless confusion, attacked and 
ravaged with fire from three sides sim.ul- 
taneously by Davoust, Soult, Duroc with his 
Grenadiers and Vandamme. It fought with a 
gallantry and sternness which drew forth the 
admiration of its enemies, but surrounded, 
driven, overwhelmed, it could not hope to extri- 
cate itself from its difficulties. There was no 
way of escape open but the Menitz lake itself, 
whose frozen surface seemed to present a path 
to safet}', and in an instant the white expanse 
was blackened by the flying multitude. The 
most horribl}- disastrous phase of the whole battle 
was at hand. The shot of the French artillery 
which was firing on the retreat broke the ice at 



many points, and its frail support gave way. 
The water welled through the cracks and washed 
over the broken fragments. Thousands of 
Russians, with horses, artillery and train, sank 
into the lake and were engulfed. Few suc- 
ceeded in struggling to the shore and taking 
advantage of the ropes and other assistance 
which their conquerors strove to put within 
their reach. About 2,000, who had been able 
to remain on the road between the two lakes, 
made good their retreat. The remainder were 
either dead or prisoners. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon the battle 
was over, and there was nothing left for the 
French to do but to pursue 
and collect the spoils of their 
conquest. This duty was per- 
formed with energy by all the 
commanders except Bernadotte 
(even then more than suspected 
of disloyalty to his great chief), 
who allowed the whole of the 
Russo-Austrian right, which 
had been defeated by Lannes 
and ^lurat and driven from its 
proper line of retreat on Olmutz, 
:o defile scatheless past his front 
and to seek shelter in the direc- 
tion of Hungary. 

After the great catastrophe 
on the Menitz lake which defi- 
nitely sealed the issue of the 
conflict, Napoleon passed slowly 
along the whole battle-field, 
from the French right to their 
left. The ground was covered 
with piles of the poor remains of those who had 
died a soldier's death, and with vast numbers of 
wounded laid suffering on the frozen plain. 
Surgeons and ambulances were already every- 
where at work, but their efforts were feeble in 
comparison with the shattered, groaning multi- 
tude ^^^;o were in dire need of help. The 
Emperor paused by every disabled follower and 
spoke words of sympathy and comfort. He 
himself, with his personal attendants and his 
staff, did all in their power to mitigate the 
pangs of each and to give some temporary 
relief till better assistance should arrive. As 
the shades of night fell on the scene of slaughter 
and destruction, the mist of the morning again 
rolled over the plain, bringing with it an icy 
rain, which increased the darkness. Napoleon 
ordered the strictest silence to be maintained, 
that no faint cry from a miserable sufferer 


should pass unheard ; and his surgeon Ywan, 
with his Mameluke orderly Roustan, gave to 
many a one, who would otherwise have died, a 
chance of life by binding up their hurts and 
restoring their powers with a draught of brandy 
from the Imperial canteen. 

It was nearly ten o'clock at night when the 
Emperor arrived at the Olmutz road, having 
almost felt his way from one wounded man to 
another as they lay where each attack had been 
made and each stubborn defence maintained. 
He passed the night at the small posthouse of 
Posoritz, supping on a share of the soldiers' 
rations, which was brought from the nearest 

bivouac, and issuing order after order about 
searching for the wounded and conveying them 
to the field hospitals. 

Though many of the most noted leaders in 
the French army were wounded in the great 
battle, comparatively few were killed. One of the 
most distinguished dead was General Morland, 
who commanded" the Chasseurs a Cheval of 
the Guard. His regiment had suffered terrible 
losses in the charge under Rapp against the 
Russian Guard, and he himself had fallen, fight- 
ing amongst the foremost. Napoleon, who was 
always anxious to do everything to raise the 
spirit of his troops and to excite their emulation, 
ordered that the body of General Morland 
should be preser\-ed and conveyed to Paris, 
there to be interred in a specially magnificent 
tomb which he proposed to build on the Espla- 
nade of the Invalides. The doctors with the 



army had neither the time nor the materials 
necessary to embalm the general's body, so, as a 
simple means of conservation, they enclosed it 
in a barrel of rum, which was taken to Paris. 
But circumstances delayed the construction ot 
the tomb which the Emperor intended for its 
reception until the fall of the Empire in 1814. 
When the barrel was then opened for the private 
interment of the body by General Morland's 
relations, they were astonished to find that the 
rum had made the dead general's moustaches 
grow so extraordinarily that they reached below 
his waist. 

The defeat suffered by the Russians was so 
crushing, and their army had been thrown into 
such confusion, that all who had escaped from 
the disaster of Austerlitz fled with all speed to 
Galicia, where there was a hope of being beyond 
the reach of the conqueror. The rout was 
complete. The French made a large number of 
prisoners, and found the roads covered with 
abandoned guns, baggage, and material of war. 
The Emperor Alexander, overcome by his mis- 
fortunes, left it to his ally, Francis 11., to treat 
with Napoleon, and authorised him to make 
the best terms he could for both the defeated 

On the very evening of the 2nd December the 
Emperor of Austria had asked for an interview 
with Napoleon, and the victor met the van- 
quished on the 4th. An armistice was signed 
on the 6th, which was sTiortly afterwards 
followed bj' a treaty of peace concluded at 

The total losses of the Austro-Russians at 
Austerlitz were about 10,000 killed, 30,000 

prisoners, 46 standards, 186 cannon, 400 artillery 
caissons, and all their baggage. Their armies 
practically no longer existed, and only about 
25,000 disheartened men could be rallied from 
the wreck. 

In the joy of victory Napoleon showed him- 
self generous to Austria and Russia in the terms 
which he imposed, and he at once set free 
Prince Repnin, with all of the Russian Imperial 
Guard who had fallen into his hands. To his 
own army he was lavish of rewards and acknow- 
ledgments of its valour, and in the famous 
order of the day which he published he first 
made use of the well-known expression — 
" Soldiers, I am content with you.'' Besides a 
large distribution of prize-money to his troops, 
he decreed that liberal pensions should be 
granted to the widows of the fallen, and also 
that their orphan children should be cared for, 
brought up, and settled in life at the expense of 
the State. 

The campaign of Austerlitz is probably the 
most striking and dramatic of all those under- 
taken by Napoleon, and its concluding struggle 
was the most complete triumph of his whole 
career. It was the first in which he engaged 
after assuming the title of Emperor and be- 
coming the sole and irresponsible ruler of 
France. Unlike the vast masses of men which 
he directed in subsequent wars, his army was 
then almost entirely composed of Frenchmen, 
and its glories belonged to France alone. Though 
for several years to come the great Emperor's 
fame was to remain undimmed by the clouds of 
reverse, it never shone with a brighter lustre 
than at the close of 180S. 



HRABI PASHA and his rebellious am- 
bition were the cause of the British 
campaign in Egj-pt (1882) which cul- 
minated in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir 
— a word which simply means " the large vil- 
lage." Arabi was of low origin, but had risen 
by his ability and force of character to be a very 
popular colonel in the Egyptian army of the 
Sultan of Turkey's Viceroy, or Khedive, Tewfik. 
He was an ardent advocate of the policy of 
" Egypt for the Eg}'ptians " ; but in the cham- 
pionship of this policy he forgot that, amongst 
other countries, England had immense interests 
at stake in Egypt, not only as the holder of 
about four millions sterling of Suez Canal stock, 
but also as the mistress of India, to which the 
Canal formed a commercial and military route. 
But Arabi, making light of these things, became 
violently opposed to the growth of English in- 
fluence in his native country, and to such an 
extent that at last he even sought to substitute 
his own power for that of his master, the 

To let things go on in Egypt in this way would 
have been to allow them to drift into chaos, and 
therefore England resolved to put down the 
rebellious Pasha. The latter had been making 
great progress with his plans at Alexandria, 
which became the scene of a massacre of Euro- 
peans ; and he had begun to arm the seaward 
forts of the city in a manner most threatening 
to the British fleet. Thereupon he was told that 
if he placed any more guns in position, he would 
draw upon himself the fire of Sir Beauchamp 
Seymour's ironclads in the bay. Arabi made 
bold to disregard this warning, and, accordingly, 
on the morning of July nth, Sir Beauchamp's 
war-vessels opened fire on Arabi's forts, bat- 
tering some to pieces and silencing all before 
sunset. This was the first noteworthy action 
which the British fleet had fought since the days 

of Sebastopol, proving that its glor}- — founded 
on the courage, skill, and discipline of its sailors 
— had by no means departed. 

But his defeat at Alexandria, far from breaking 
the power and priue of Arabi, had the eff"ect only 
of deepening his hatred of the English, and he 
retired into the interior with the view of organ- 
ising further opposition to our arms. He had 
thrown down the gauntlet, and England could 
not refuse to pick it up. As our fleet could not 
sail up the Nile to Cairo, it behoved us to equip 
and send out an army which should land in 
Egypt, seek out Arabi wherever he was to be 
found, and make an end, once and for ever, of 
him and his rebellious force. This army was 
entrusted to the command of Sir Garnet (after- 
wards Viscount) Wolseley, who had already dis- 
tinguished himself in so many of our " little 
wars " that he was facetiously termed " our only 

Nor could the command of the expedition 
have been given to a better man. Sir Garnet 
was a tried soldier, and now he became a prophet 
as well. Before leaving England he had laid 
his hand, with remarkable foresight, upon the 
map, and, pointing to Tel-el-Kebir, said that 
he would engage and beat the army of Arabi 
there, about the 13th September ; and he kept 
his word to the very Ic' ter. At first the French 
seemed inclined to share with us the work of 
restoring order in Egypt ; but at the last 
moment thev stood aside and left England to 
deal with the task of quelling Arabi. 

To accomplish this task, England at once began 
to bring together in Eg}-pt an army — or Army 
Corps — of about 40,000 men. Some came from our 
garrisons in the Mediterranean — Malta, Cj-prus, 
and Gibraltar — others were brought from India, 
and the remainder sent out straight from 

Being gathered, as it waSj from so m?jay 



different sources, this huge force could not, of 
course, all land at once ; but the marvel was 
that its component parts reached the trysting- 
ground in Egypt so soon as they did, and it 
was admitted on all hands that no other nation in 
the whole world could have performed such a 
difficult transport operation so swifth' and so well. 
It was known that Arabi had about 60,000 
fighting men at his disposal, which was 20,000 
more than were commanded by Sir Garnet 
Wolseley ; and if these two armies had met one 

challenge him to battle at the Egyptian lines ol 
Kafr Dowar. 

In order to encourage this delusive belief in 
the mind of the rebel Pasha, a considerable 
force had already landed here and indulged in 
feints against the foe. Sir Garnet had craftily 
caused it to be spread abroad that the gross of 
his force aboard the transports in the bay was 
going to be put ashore ; but what was the sur- 
prise of everyone — for the secret had been in 
the keeping of only one or two — to behold one 


another in full force, there is no saying but that 
the result of the campaign might have been 
different. But the beauty of Sir Garnet's war- 
policy was that he kept his opponent so long in 
the dark as to where he meant to strike ; with 
the natural result that Arabi, deeming it wise to 
be prepared on every hand, had his 60,000 men 
portioned out at the likeliest places, all over the 
Delta — some in the neighbourhood of Alexandria, 
some at Cairo, and some at Tel-el-Kebir, a com- 
manding point on the railway between Ismailia, 
on the Suez Canal, and the capital. This suited 
Sir Garnet to perfection, and his great aim was 
to make Arabi think that he meant to land the 
bulk of the British force in Alexandria, and 


night the magnificent flotilla of troopships, 
escorting ironclads and all, steaming aw a} m 
majestic procession towards the east and the 
mouth of the Suez Canal ! 

Ismailia, on the Canal, midway between 
Port Said and Suez, had been aimed at by Sir 
Garnet from the beginning ; and here, in truth, 
on the 20th August — onl}^ a short eighteen days 
after he had left England by the sea route — the 
British army began to disembark on the burning 
sands of Egypt. 

Among these burning sands, water was more 
precious than gold and silver to the British 
soldier ; but the only source of its supply was 
the Fresh-water Canal running through the arid 
desert from the Nile to Ismailia alongside of a 
railway line, and it therefore behoved the 
English commander to secure the water in this 
canal from being cut off by the enemy. But to 
do this it was necessary above all things to push 
forward an advance force about twenty miles 
into the very heart of the desert as far as a place 



called Kassassin, where there was a lock, and 
accordingly this was done with the utmost 
courage and promptitude. 

At Mahuta the Egyptians had made an attempt 
to bar this advance, but their opposition was 
swept awav like chafF, and soon thereafter General 

were things on which no one could reasonably 
hope to whet his teeth and thrive. Two main 
actions were fought at Kassassin — though these 
formed the mere prelude, so to speak, to the 
grand spectacular drama that was presently to 
be enacted at Tel-el-Kebir. 


ANNIHILATION " (/. 199)- 

Graham reached Kassassin Lock with his van- 
guard, entrenching himself in that position with 
strict orders to hold it against all comers. Well 
aware of the importance of this position for the 
British, the Egyptians made several attempts to 
drive them out of it and back to Ismailia before 
reinforcements could reach them ; but each 
time they recoiled from the enterprise with the 
bitter conviction that British bullets and sabres 

The chief of these preliminary actions, fought 
on the 28th August, will always be memorable 
for the grand cavalry charge which closed it. 
Early in the morning General Graham had 
become aware that the Egyptians were making 
preparations to attack him from a circle of 
sand-hills which formed a kind of amphi- 
theatre around Kassassin. Graham's force was 
by no means a large one, but it was impossible 



for the Eg3'ptians to make out how strong 
it really was, and it is always half the battle 
to be able to conceal your plans and numbers 
from the enemy. A few days previously 
Arabi had sent out his second-in-command, 
Mahmoud Fehmi Pasha, a great engineer 
and reader of military signs, to discover the 
strength and dispositions of Graham, but by a 
curious accident he fell into the hands of the 
English and never returned to his own side. 
To this capture Arabi himself afterwards attri- 
buted the sole blame of his not having been 

battle. Come they also did with right good 
will, for they were all burning for a fight, but 
only to hear that the Egyptians, after using 
their guns for some time, had apparently retired 
again behind their sand-hills ; so back they went 
to Mehsameh and off-saddled, again. 

The heat was terrific, and bucketfuls of water 
from the canal had to be poured on the heads of 
the English artillerists to enable them to stick 
to their guns. Sunstrokes were numerous, but 
our men bore all their sufferings with a fortitude 
truly heroic. The scorching heat was probably 

able to oust the audacious English from their 
advanced post at Kassassin — and the incident 
will show how very important it must always be 
in warfare to seize and detain spies. 

Graham's force at Kassassin was not a large 
one (under 2,000), consisting mainly of a com- 
pany of Royal Marine Artillery, the Duke of 
Cornwall's regiment, the York and Lancasters, 
with some mounted infantry and a few guns, 
one of which, under Captain Tucker, was 
mounted on a railway truck. But the Egyptians, 
taking a leaf out of our own book of war, had 
by this time imitated us in this respect — though 
they were very bad range-finders, and did us 
little harm. 

Drury Lowe's Cavalr}^ Brigade, consisting of 
the 7th Dragoon Guards and three squadrons 
of Household Cavalry (contributed by the ist 
and 2nd Life Guards, and " Blues," or Horse 
Guards, respectively) were stationed some miles 
to the rear at Mehsameh, and Graham helio- 
graphed to these splendid troopers to come and 
help him on his right flank in the impending 

the reason why the Egyptians had drawn off 
from their first attack on Kassassin, but towards 
the cool of the evening they again began to push 
forward from their sand-hills and threaten the 
British position. The left of this position was 
well protected, but the right less so ; and, in- 
deed. General Graham expressly made such a 
disposition of his force on the latter flank as 
might tempt the enemy down from his sand- 
hills so as to essay a turning movement, when 
they would be caught in the trap which he was 
preparing for them. 

To this end, about 5.20 p.m., he despatched 
his aide-de-camp. Lieutenant Pirie, 4th Dragoon 
Guards, with a message to Drury Lowe, in the 
rear, at Mehsameh, or wherever he should be 
found, " to take the cavalry round by our right, 
under cover of the hill, and attack the left flank 
of the enemy's skirmishers." 

But when Lieutenant Pirie did at last reach 
Lowe, after a long and fatiguing ride through 
the arid desert sand — in the course of which his 
horse fell under him from sheer exhaustion and 



he had to borrow another mount from a gun- 
team — he dehvered his message in this altered 
form, that " General Graham ivas only jtist able 
to lu)ld his own^ and wished General Drury Lowe 
to attack the left of the enemy's infantry skir- 
mishers." The famous cavalry charge at Bala- 
clava had been due to a similar mistake in the 
delivery of a verbal order, though at Kassassin, 
as it turned out, the repetition of this mistake 
did not result in disaster, but in victory. So far 
was Graham from not being able to hold his 
own that, about two hours after despatching 
Lieutenant Pirie for the cavalry, he had ordered 
a counter-attack and a general advance of 
his line, which had meanwhile been reinforced 
by a fresh battery, for his other guns had been 
obliged to retire out of action, owing to want of 
ammunition, it having been found impossible 
to drag the battery carts through the deep and 
yielding sand. 

It was while Graham was engaged in this 
general advance that at last Drury Lowe arrived 
upon the scene with his cavalry. The sun had 
now set, but a bright moon was shining, and the 
flashes from the Horse Artillery and infantry 
afforded some guide for the movement of the 
British horsemen, which was directed on the 
evening star — the orbs of heaven being the only 
landmarks in the nocturnal desert. Suddenty the 
cavalry came in sight of the extreme left of the 
Egyptians, and was at once exposed to a heavy 
fire. " Shells screamed and shrapnel bullets tore 
up the road on either side of us." Rushing 
to the front, the guns of the Horse Artillery 
attached to the Cavalry.' Brigade unlimbered and 
belched out several rounds of shell on the 
Egyptian masses. Then the front of these 
British guns was rapidly cleared, and Drury 
Lowe gave the Household Cavalry' the order to 

Led on by Colonel Ewart, away with a wild 
cheer went the three ponderous squadrons of 
clanking giants straight at the Egyptian batta- 
lions, which in a tew more moments had been 
trampled and sabred into positive annihilation. 
" Now we have them ! " Sir Baker Russell had 
cried out to the men ; " trot — gallop — charge ! " 
Sir Baker's own horse was shot under him, but 
he caught another, and was soon again in the 
thick of the fray. Many were the feats of 
personal adventure in connection with this 
glorious charge. Some of the troopers were 
killed, some lost themselves in the darkness 
and were taken prisoners, happy to escape the 
barbarous mutilatiops that were perpetrated 

by the Egyptians on the British dead and 

The cavalry charge at Kassassin was a splendid 
feat of arms, but it somehow or other became 
the subject of as curious a myth as that 
which gathered round the sinking of the 
Vengeiir on the "glorious ist of June." At 
Balaclava the Light Brigade had ridden down 
upon the Russian guns, and nothing would 
content the chroniclers of Kassassin but the 
performance of a similar act of glory. The 
illustrated papers of the day which had artists in 
Egypt gave stirring pictures of our Life Guards- 
men dashing through the smoke of the Egyptian 
batteries, slashing and thrusting at the gunners 
as they crouched for shelter beneath their pieces. 
But this was pure imagination. If commanded 
to do so the Life Guards would have charged 
into the very " mouth of hell," not to speak of 
Egyptian guns. But what they were ordered 
to "go for " was the Egyptian infantry, which 
was considerably in front of its guns, and these 
had limbered up and retired from action, render- 
ing it impossible for our victorious troopers to 
see and capture them in the darkness. But the 
day had been won all the same, and another 
bright name blazoned on the victory roll of the 
British army. 

A few days later, on 9th September, another 
attack of the Egyptians on Kassassin was beaten 
off in the most brilliant manner, the 13th Bengal 
Lancers, in their picturesque turbans, especially 
distinguishing themselves; and there were many 
who thought that Sir Garnet Wolseley ought to 
have rushed the not far-distant entrenchments 
of Tel-el-Kebir there and then. But though 
this might certainly have been done, there were 
certain weight}^ reasons of military policy against 
the step. For a commander must not be too 
much of a Hotspur, but think of ulterior aims 
as well as of present opportunities. It is the 
man who can bide his time that will ultimately 

Foiled in their repeated attempts to bar the 
British advance, Arabi and his Egyptians now 
finally withdrew behind the entrenched lines of 
Tel-el-Kebir, there to stand on the defensive 
and await attack. These formidable lines, which 
ran along a ridge of rising ground, presented a 
front of about four miles long, and had been 
constructed according to the most advanced 
principles of military engineering. The Egyptians 
are great hands at the spade, being constantly 
employed in the throwing up of water- 
dams and the like, and many thousands of 



willing hands had been at the disposal of Arabi 
in the task of raising his famous line of earth- 
works. How many men of all kinds — Egyptians, 
Nubians, Bedouins, etc. — Arabi had behind the 
shelter of these parapets Sir Garnet Wolseley 
did not exactly know, but concluded that the 
number could not be far short of 22,000. 

On the other hand, the English commander 
had now with him about 17,000 officers and 
men, with sixty - seven guns, wherewith to 
crack the nut that was presented by Arabi's 
entrenchments, and these Sir Garnet resolved 
to storm at the hour when darkness was be- 
ginning to glide into dawn — for the reasons that 

them. On the right marched the 1st Division- 
commanded b}' General Willis, the front, or 
leading Brigade, under Graham, consisting of 
the Royal Irish, Royal Marines, York and Lan- 
casters, and Royal Irish Fusiliers. Behind them, 
at a distance of about a thousand yards, was the 
Brigade of Guards (Grenadiers, Scots, and Cold- 
streams), under the Queen's soldier-son, the 
Duke of Connaught. The left of the attacking 
line was occupied b}- the 2nd Division, led by 
General Hamley (a great writer on the art of 
war), the front position of honour and of danger 
being accorded to the Highland Brigade of 
one-armed Sir Archibald Alison (son of the 



The Valley of the Saba Bier (Seven Wells), along which the troops marched on the advance upon Tel-el-Kebir. 

at this cool hour his troops would naturall)- fight 
much better than under the roasting rays of the 
sun, that they would be less exposed to the 
enemy's fire in the faint light, and that they 
would also profit by the demoralisation which 
invariably seizes upon soldiers when set upon 
unawares. But, to make the surprise complete, 
it was necessary- that the very utmost care should 
be taken to give no indication to the watchful 
Egj-ptians behind the earthworks of the stealthy 
approach of their British foes. When ranked 
into line, the storming columns were to advance 
— not to the word of command, but by the mere 
guidance of the stars, like so many ships at sea. 
Not a pipe was to be lit, not a whisper heard in 
the ranks, and one man of the Highland Light 
Infantry, whose high-strung feelings found vent 
in sudden shouts, only escaped bayoneting on 
the spot by being chloroformed to keep him 
still and left behind. 

The night (September 12-13) was more than 
usuall}' dark, and it was some time before the 
troops could be placed in the positions assigned 

celebrated historian of " Europe "), composed of 
the famous Black Watch, Gordon Highlanders, 
Cameron Highlanders and Highland Light 
Infantr}', four of the finest battalions that ever 
wore the kilt and trews or thrilled to the 
stirring strains of the Celtic war-pipe. Behind 
these Scottish battalions marched, as a reserve, 
Ashburnam's Brigade of the King's Royal Rifles 
and Duke of Cornwall's Infantry-, while in the 
interval between the two Divisions was placed 
General Goodenough's crushing mass of artillery 
of forty-two guns. On the extreme right reai 
flank of the assaulting force marched Drury 
Lowe's cavalry heroes of Kassassin, already 
spoiling for another charge ; while on the ex- 
treme left of the British line, on the other side 
of the Fresh-water Canal, followed the Indian 
contingent of General Macpherson, consisting of 
the Seaforth Highlanders, three battalions of 
native infantr\-, Bengal Cavalr}', and some 
mountain guns, the task of this contingent 
being to turn Arabi's right flank, which rested 
on the canal. 



Arabi and his men fondly believed that all 
this British force was sleeping the sleep of 
wearied soldiers at Kassassin and other points 
between that place and the Suez Canal. As a 
matter of fact, it was marshalling itself in line of 
battle array as above detailed on an elevation 
called Ninth Hill, about five and a half miles 

by the long and strenuous march, they were all 
eager to be led on to the fight without further 
delay. Until the hour of starting, all the men 
stretched themselves on the sand to snatch what 
brief and hurried sleep they could. From pre- 
vious experience it was reckoned that the actual 
progress over the desert, with its darkness 


from Arabi's lines, from which it remained 
hidden by the impenetrable curtain of the night. 
Some of the regiments — notably the High- 
landers — had but a few hours before hurried up 
to the front from Ismail ia*; yet, though wearied 
* For an account of many striking incidents of the 
march, some of our readers may be glad to be referred to 
the graphic narrative of Sergeant Arthur V. Palmer, of 
the 79th Highlanders, in the Nineteenth Century for March, 
1890, entitled "A Battle. Described from the Ranks," 
and to the controversy to which it gave rise in ensuing 
numbers of the same publication. 

and other difficulties, would be about one 
mile per hour — ^just think of that! — so that 
by starting at 1.30 a.m.. Sir Garnet calculated 
to reach the enemy's works just before the first 
gleam of dawn — so nicely was everything planned 
beforehand. " The long sojourn at Ninth Hill," 
wrote General Hamley, " while waiting for the 
moment to advance was of a sombre kind : we 
sat in silence on our horses or on the sand, while 
comrades moving about appeared as black figures 
coming out of the darkness, unrecognisable 



except by their voices. A skirmish had taken 
place some days before near this spot, in which 
men and horses were slain, and tokens of it were 
wafted to us on the breeze." Once there was a 
false alarm on the right, and the prostrate men 
sprang to their feet; but it turned out to be only 
a body of British cavalry moving across the front 
of the line. 

At last, in the lowest undertone, word was 
passed along all the line to advance, and soon 
nothing was heard but the " swish-swish " of 
the battalions footing it warily across the sand 
as if it had been snow — silence otherwise 


and darkness around and above, with the stars 
shining down as they had done in the time of 
the Pharaohs and the other dynasties of Egj-ptian 
kings lying entombed in the Pyramids. Well 
might the British troops have been impressed 
with the suspense of the moment and the awful 
solemnity of the scene. Directing poles had 
been previously fixed in the sand by the Engi- 
neers, but they proved of little or no use, the 
only effective finger-posts being the everlasting 
stars, and even these were now and then obscured 
by clouds. Sometimes the mounted men of the 
Headquarters' Staff, moving up to the columns 
with Avhispered instructions, were mistaken for 
prying Bedouins ; but silence and discipline were 
wonderfully well preserved, and fonvard, ever 
forward, moved the invisible and barely audible 
masses of fighting men. Once the Highland 
Brigade lay down to rest for twenty minutes, 
and this was the occasion of some confusion 
which was like to have ended in a calamity. 
For the order thus given in the centre of the 
Highland line did not reach the outer flanks, 

bv reason of its being so cautiously passed from 
mouth to mouth, till some time after, the con- 
sequence being that as the flanks continued to 
step out, \vhile maintaining touch with the 
recumbent centre, those flanks lost their direc- 
tion and circled round in such a manner that 
the Brigade finally halted in a crescent-shaped 
formation, with the right and left almost con- 
fronting each other ; and but for the intelligence 
and efforts of the officers, these opposing flanks, 
mistaking each other for enemies, might have 
come to actual blows. 

With great difficulty the proper march-direc- 
tion was restored, and on again swept — or, rather, 
crept — the whole line, like thieves in the night. 
Weird and ghostly was the eff'ect of the dim 
streaks, looking like shadows of moving clouds, 
but which were really lines of men stealing ovei 
the desert. All these men knew that they were 
forbidden to fire a single shot until within the 
Egyptian lines, and that these were to be carried 
with a cheer and a rush at the point of the 
bayonet ; so that they almost held their breath 
vv'ith eagerness, and plodded ever on like phan- 
toms of the desert — silent, resolute, and prepared. 
For nearly five hours they had thus advanced, 
and then they knew that the supreme moment 
must now be near. Nearer, indeed, than they 
fancied ! For, to use again the words of General 
Hamley, who was riding behind his Highlanders: 
" Just as the paling of the stars showed dawn to 
be near, but while it was still as dark as ever, a 
few scattered shots were fired in our front, pro- 
babl}' from some sentries, or small pickets, out- 
side the enemy's lines. No notice was taken of 
this, though one of the shots killed a Highlander; 
the movement was unchanged, and then a 
single bugle sounded within the enem3-'s lines. 
These were most welcome sounds, assuring us 
that we should close with the foe before daylight, 
Avhich just before seemed very doubtful. Yet a 
minute or two of dead silence elapsed after the 
Egyptian bugle was blown, and then the whole 
extent .of entrenchment in our front, hitherto 
unseen and unknown of, poured forth a stream 
of rifle fire. Then, for the first time that night, 
I could reall}- be said to see my men, lighted by 
the flashes. The dim phantom lines which I 
had been looking on all night suddenl}' woke to 
life as our bugles sounded the charge, and, re- 
sponding with lusty, continued cheers, and with- 
out a moment's pause or hesitation, the ranks 
sprang forward in steady array." 

It was as if the footlights of the rebel Pasha's 
long-extended stage had suddenly flashed out 



with blinding flame ; and now the vast and 
solemn theatre of the desert, which a moment 
before had been wrapped in the deepest silence 
and darkness, grew luminous with lurid jets of 
fire and resonant with the deafening rattle of 
Egyptian musketry and the roar of guns — a 
transformation scene as sudden as it was impres- 
sive. Never had British soldiers been actors 
on such a grandly picturesque stage. But 
do you suppose that these soldiers returned the 
volleys rained on them by the Remingtons of 
Arabi's men ? Not a bit of it. Not a single shot 
was fired from our lines ; but bayonets were 
fixed, and away like an avalanche dashed the 
redcoats on the foe. Their distance from the 
blazing line of entrenchment was deemed to be 
about 1 50 yards, and in the interval nearly 200 
men went down, the 74th (Highland Light In- 
fantry) on the left losing five officers and sixty men 
before it got to the ditch. This was six feet wide 
and four feet deep, and beyond was a parapet 
ten feet high from the bottom. The first man to 
mount this parapet was Private Donald Cameron, 
of the Cameron Highlanders, a brave young 
soldier from the braes of Athol ; but he at once 
fell back among his struggling comrades with a 
bullet through his brain, dying the noblest of all 
deaths. Little wonder that, on passing the 79th, 
after the battle, General Alison exclaimed, "Well 
done, the Cameron men ! Scotland will be 
proud of this day's work ! " 

It so happened that in the darkness the High- 
land Brigade, which formed the left of the attack, 
had got considerably in front of the rest of the 
line, so that it was the first, so to speak, to break 
its bayonet-teeth on Arabi's entrenchments ; and 
the seizure of these works for the first ten 
minutes to a quarter of an hour of the fight was 
the history of the advance of the kilted warriors 
from the North. They had not fought better 
even at Fontenoy, Quebec, and Ouatre Bras ; 
nor were their present foes to be despised, seeing 
they were allowed by all to have borne the charge 
with a discipline and a desperation worthy of 
the best troops. " I never saw men fignt more 
steadily," said Sir A. Alison. " Five or six times 
we had to close on them with the bayonet, and I 
saw those poor men fighting hard when their 
officers were flying before us. All this time, too, 
it was a goodly sight to see the Cameron and 
Gordon Highlanders — mingled together as they 
were in the stream of the fight, their young 
officers leading in front, waving their swords 
above their heads — their pipes plaving, and the 
men rushing on with that proud smile on their 

lips which you never see in soldiers save in the 
moment of successful battle." 

When the Black Watch had reached the 
crest of the works, and were being re-formed to 
attack some other guns in the interior entrench- 
ments, a battery of the newly-formed Scottish 
Division of the Royal Artillery swept past them, 
shouting out " Scotland for ever ! " as the Grej's 
and the Highlanders had done on the ensan- 
guined slopes of Waterloo. Here the Black 
Watch had to mourn the death of Sergeant- 
Major MacNeill, who fell pierced by three bullets 
after laying low six of the enemy with his good 
claymore. There is a story that at one time 
some confusion was caused in the onward rush- 
ing ranks of the Camerons by some voices 
shouting " Retire ! retire ! " and that these cries 
were found to have emanated from a couple of 
" Glasgow Irishmen " — Fenians who wished no 
good to the cause of England and her army — 
and that they were put an end to there and 
then, meeting with the just fate of all traitors. 
But this has been shown to be incorrect. 
There were no traitors at Tel-el-Kebir. The 
Irish soldiers did their fair share of the fighting. 
The Royal Irish on the extreme right, with a 
wild yell, and all the splendid valour of their 
nation, went straight as a dart at their particular 
portion of Arabi's works, carrying them with the 
bayonet, and turning the flank of his position. 

All along the line the engagement now be- 
came general, our men plying butt and bayonet 
upon the Egyptians, who fell in scores — in 
swarms. At the bastions stormed by the High- 
land Brigade the enemy lay in hundreds. On 
the other hand, the total losses of the British 
army at Tel-el-Kebir amounted to 339, of which 
243 occurred in the Highland Brigade, leaving 
q6 to represent the losses of the rest of the force. 

fnder the Queen's soldier-son the Guards 
were in the second line as a reserve, but so 
quickly and successfully had the works been 
stormed that they were not required to fire a 
shot. «^ome, however, were wounded (Father 
Bellew, their Roman Catholic chaplain, and 
Colonel Sterling amongst others), for Arabi's 
men shot high, sometimes over the heads of 
the attacking party. On the other side of the 
canal, the Indian contingent, with the Seaforth 
Highlanders, the bronzed companions of Roberts 
in his immortal march from Cabul to Candahar, 
had met with less opposition, and came up just in 
the nick of time to turn Arabi's right flank and 
complete the rout of his broken men. His camp, 
stores, and ordnance were all captured, and he 



himself fled alone trom the field of battle on a 
swift steed. 

It was asserted by some of our ill-natured 
foreign critics who were rather jealous of our 
brilliant victory, that we had dimmed its lustre 
by massacring many of the wounded Egyptians. 
But this was not true in the sense implied. 
None but savage nations commit such barbarities, 
and British troops have never been wanting in 
a humanity equal to their courage. Certainly 
some of the wounded soldiers of Arabi had to 
be bayoneted as they lay, but this was simply 
owing to the fact that when our triumphant 
troops were rushing on through the prostrate 
ranks of their foes, numbers ot the latter, 
feigning to be dead, suddenly- raised themselves 
and fired at the backs of our forward-bounding 
men. . There was even one case, at least, where 
a wounded Eg^-ptian did this after being treated 
to a pull from the water-bottle of a kind-hearted 
Highlander (the Sergeant Palmer to whose 
account of the battle reference has already been 
made in a note) ; and for such an act of base 
ingratitude and treachery, there could only have 

been one possible answer — the ba3-onet point. 
By the time the action was over, our own men 
were suffering frightfully from thirst, nor could 
many of them be restrained from rushing to 
quench their thirst in the adjacent canal, 
although the water was almost putrid from the 
corpses of men and the carcases of animals. 

The battle had been won by the- British in- 
fantry, but the artillery and cavalry (as well as 
a splendid body of Blue Jackets) came up to 
carry on the pursuit of the flying foe and pluck 
the fruits of victory, which, on the night of the 
following da}', fell into the hands of the English, 
when their cavalry, after a splendid forced march 
of about forty miles under a blazing sun, entered 
Cairo just in time to save the city from destruc- 
tion and capture Arabi himselr. 

After Waterloo we sent the despot Napoleon 
to St. Helena, and after Tel-el-Kebir we sent 
the rebel Arabi to Ceylon, where he had 
leisure enough to reflect on the folly of having 
called out into the field against him as finely- 
organised a force as ever added lustre to the 
British arms. 



IT must have seemed to the people of the 
United States as if Sunday was to be for 
them a day of fate. Bull Run, the 
initial battle of the Civil War, was 
fought on a Sunday, and Shiloh, the battle 
which may be considered the second clear 
point of the great struggle, began on a 
Sunday. But here coincidences between the 
battles did not end. A General Johnston 
(Albert Sidney at Shiloh and Joseph Eggleston 
at Bull Run) and General Beauregard com- 
manded the Southern forces on both occasions ; 
moreover, each battle may be said to have had 
two clearly defined parts, and in each first 
appearances, as is so often the case in things 
civic or military, proved deceptive. At noon 
on the Sunday of Bull Run the Federals 
had carried all before them ; and at noon on 
the Sunday of Shiloh the South was in as 
favourable a position. Yet, in the end, the 
North suffered defeat at Bull Run, as did the 
South at Shiloh. 

The fortunes of war, ever fickle, went sadly 
against the Confederates at Shiloh. Skilfully 
planned and boldly executed by the Southern 
leaders, if luck had been at all equally divided 
between the two armies, the Confederates must 
surely have won. But in the thick of the action, 
when Sherman had been driven back step by 
step, when Prentiss and his whole command 
had been captured, and when nothing seemed 
able to stay the march of the South, and none 
to withstand their savage charges — when, in 
fact, it looked as though Grant and his army 
must inevitably be annihilated or swept into 
the Tennessee River — then it was that a rifle- 
bullet struck General Johnston. The leader of 
the Confederate army fell, and in a few minutes 
bled to death. 

The news ran along the Southern line, and 
to everj'one who heard it, foretold disaster. 

It checked the charges of the South more 
effectively than ten thousand Federals could 
have done. The men from the South lost 
heart. Their ardour cooled, and the partial 
cessation of the fight allowed the Northerners 
the breathing-time they so sorely needed. 

To add to the confusion of the Confederates, 
General Beauregard, second in command to 
Johnston, could not at once be found, and for a 
time the army was leaderless. When Beauregard 
learned of the death of his chief, he hastened 
to assume command ; but before he could get 
his army in hand, two invaluable hours were 
lost. This left him with far too short a spell of 
daylight before him to successfully accomplish 
all that was needed to be done for victory. 
Night came on, and with the night came 
General Buell and 30,000 men to the relief of 

Next day General Beauregard found himself 
outnumbered, an army of fresh men opposing 
him, and the victory so nearly won was snatched 
from him. 

The defeat of the Federal forces at Bull Run 
came as a great humiliation to the North, but it 
served a good purpose nevertheless. Up to the 
destruction of McDowell's army at Bull Run, 
the people ot the Free States had looked upon 
the rebellion of the Slave States as a trivial 
matter, of little moment, scarcely a rebellion at 
all. But when the dead, wounded, and missing 
of Bull Run were counted, the gravity of the 
situation came home to a people unused to war. 
It was then recognised that the enlisting of 
75,000 men, and these for three months only, 
had been but trifling with a situation full of 
grave danger. President Lincoln called for 
500,000 men to serve for three years, and this 
call was answered bv close upon 700,000. These 
men enlisted in all sincerity, and from that day 
to the close of the war there were no longer 



lighthearted, boisterous mobs, tramping gaily to 
the South, but armies moving seriously, and fully 
recognising that a stubborn contest lay ahead. 
Bull Run was fought near Washington on the 
Atlantic slope, but Shiloh brings us to the 
Mississippi Valley. The battle-field is in the 
State of Tennessee, near to the border of the 
State of Mississippi, and rests on the Tennessee 
River at a place called Pittsburg Landing. Li- 
deed, the battle would have been more appro- 
priately named the Battle of Pittsburg Landing 
— many do speak of it as such. 

Leading up to the Battle of Shiloh were 
several important movements and events. In 
the first place, at the outbreak of rebellion, the 
State of Kentuck}-, to use an American ex- 
pression, attempted to '' sit astraddle the fence." 
A majority of those in authority in that im- 
portant State, sympathising with the South, but 
recognising that the people of the State were 
largely in favour of maintaining the Union, 
tried to induce them to declare neutrality — to 
notify both North and South that any attempt 
to send troops into Kentucky would be resisted 
b}- the troops of the State. 

This, on the face of it, was an impossible 
position. If President Lincoln had recognised 
the right of a State to remain neutral, and to 
forbid the passage across it of national troops, 
he would soon have found a barrier of such 
States running clear across the continent, and 
in the end he would have been unable to stamp 
out the rebellion at all. Lincoln refused to 
recognise such a position, and the people of 
Kentucky, thinking better of it, declared their 
lo3-alt3- and offered service. 

When those at the head of Southern affairs 
saw_ that Kentucky could not be hoodwinked 
even by such a plausible plea as negative action. 
General Polk, commanding a Southern force of 
considerable dimensions, was ordered to push up 
into the State. This he did, and seizing Columbus, 
an important town some twenty miles or so 
south of the junction of the Mississippi and 
Ohio rivers, established there his headquarters. 

Another force of Southern troops took posses- 
sion of Bowling Green, an important centre on 
the far east of Kentucky. Between these two Con- 
federate centres the rivers Tennessee and Cum- 
berland flowed, the rivers themselves and their 
valleys forming natural highways to the verj- 
heart of the South. To prevent any such use 
being made of these by the Federals, the Con- 
federates built two forts — Fort Henry on the 
Tennessee River, and Fort Donaldson on the 

Cumberland River. These were placed at points 
where the two rivers were onl}- twelve miles 
apart ; and a line drawn from General Polk's 
headquarters, Columbus, on the Mississippi east 
to Bowling Green, intersecting the two forts, 
would be the line between the North and the 

This General Polk, commanding at Columbus, 
was a character in his way When war 
broke out it found him Bishop of the 
Church in Louisiana ; and without resigning 
his ecclesiastical position — intending, in fact, to 
again resume active work when the war should 
be over — he accepted command of a Confederate 
force and served with considerable distinction, 
effectively checking Grant at the Battle of 
Belmont, and holding Columbus until the capi- 
tulation of Fort Donaldson, when he fell back to 
join General Johnston at Corinth, which move- 
ment brought him on the field of Shiloh. He 
was killed on Pine Mountain by a cannon shot 
in 1864. 

When Polk and his Confederates seized 
Columbus, a Federal force was massed at Cairo, 
in the State of Illinois, not many miles north 
of the Confederate headquarters. Among the 
officers stationed at Cairo there was one who, 
although as yet in a comparatively subordinate 
position, was destined to become the central 
figure of the war. Before the struggle ceased the 
name Ul3-sses S. Grant became known through- 
out the length and breadth of the land. 

Like a large majority of the officers engaged 
in the war, Grant had served through the 
Mexican campaign, and at the taking of Mexico 
won personal compliments from General Worth 
for, amojig many other remarkable deeds, 
mounting a Howitzer in a church belfry, and 
from that elevation firing upon the enemy. 
When the Mexican war collapsed. Grant retired 
from the arm}' and lived in obscurity, at one 
time tilling a small farm near St. Louis, at 
another clerking in a hardware store, and again, 
earning his living as a carter ; but when the 
civil strife began, the Governor of Illinois 
appointed him mustering officer, and step by 
step he advanced until the capture of Fort 
Donaldson brought his personality vividl}' before 
the people of America. From that da}- his 
fame as a leader spread. After years of fighting 
he brought the war to a conclusion, and before 
he died had been twice elected President of his 

But stationed at Cairo, and confronting 
General Polk, he had his reputation still to 



make. The headquarters of the Northern 
forces were at St. Louis, General Halleck being 
then the commander of the Federals in that 
part of the country. To him Grant proposed a 
scheme, and applied for permission to break the 
Southern line by an attack and capture of the 
twin forts, Henry and Donaldson. Supplement- 
ing Grant's appeal, this plan was urged upon 
Halleck by many prominent military experts 
in the North. 

For a long time General Halleck did not 
even reply to Grant's request. However, on 
February ist, 1862, Grant obtained the per- 
mission for which he sought, and, marching 
against Fort Henr}', quickly reduced it. With- 
out losing a moment's time he pushed across 
the twelve miles intervening, and set about 
the taking of Fort Donaldson. This proved 
a much more difficult undertaking than Fort 
Henry had been, but on account of divided 
authority among the Confederates holding the 
fort, and excellent fighting b)- the Northern 
forces, this in time fell. For these successes 
General Halleck was assigned to the command 
of the Department of the Mississippi, and 
Grant, raised to the rank of major-general, 
assigned to the command of the military 
district of Tennessee. 

Polk evacuated Columbus, made a stand at 
" Island No. 10," was driven from there, and 
the Southern line was shattered. 

Grant drove the Southern forces out of the 
State of Kentucky and across the whole breadth 
of the State of Tennessee. 

General Johnston, the Southern commander, 
ordered a concentration at a place called Corinth, 
near the border-line of Tennessee and Mississippi, 
and the Northern forces concentrating at 
Savannah, twenty-three miles farther north, 
made the battle of Shiloh inevitable. 

On March nth President Lincoln in a war 
order commanded, '' That the two departments 
now under the respective commands of Generals 
Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of 
that under General Buell as lies west of a north 
and south line indefinitely drawn through 
Knoxville, Tennessee, be considered and desig- 
nated the Department of the Mississippi, and 
that, until otherwise ordered, Major-General 
Halleck have command of said Department." 
Halleck was an exacting officer, who carried 
caution and prudence to such an extent that 
they ceased to be virtues. About the time Lincoln 
issued this war order, Grant in some way had 
offended Halleck, and, as a consequence, had 

been superseded for the time being in the 
command by General C. F. Smith, a sturdy 
soldier, held in high esteem by his superiors. 
Smith was first ordered to Savannah, and when 
there. General Halleck instructed him to search 
out a fit position in the vicinit}- to assemble the 
Federal army preparatory to advancing on 
Corinth. Pittsburg Landing, nine miles south 
of Savannah on the Tennessee River, and on 
the direct line to Corinth, was the chosen spot, 
and thither General Grant, reinstated in his 
command, proceeded to take up his position 
to await the arrival of General Buell and 
22,000 Northern troops who were on their way 
to reinforce him before he advanced to Corinth. 
Both North and South, recognising the inevit- 
ability of a decisive battle, set about the 
amassing of troops at their respective centres — 
Pittsburg Landing and Corinth. 

Albert Sidney Johnston, a general who had 
seen much service against the Mexicans and 
Indians, and who was looked upon as the most 
brilliant of all the Southern leaders, had his 
headquarters at Nashville, Tennessee, when the 
crushing news of the capture of Forts Henry 
and Donaldson reached him. He saw that he 
must without delay fall back and at some point 
consolidate the scattered forces of the South. 
On February i8th he moved out, evacuating 
Nashville, and leaving in that city only a small 
company to preserve order, made Corinth his 
object point. General Beauregard, second in 
command at this time as at Bull Run, was 
guarding the Mississippi, and Johnston now set 
about joining their two armies to check the 
advance of the Federals under Grant. To 
accomplish this it was imperative that Johnston 
should give up his hold either on the Mississippi 
or Central Tennessee, and he decided to hold 
the Mississippi at all hazard. For this purpose, 
and to retain control of railways indispensable 
to the South, he decided that Corinth was the 
proper point for concentration. Picking up on 
his way all those who had escaped capture at 
Fort Donaldson, he arrived at Corinth on March 
24th with 20,000 men. To meet him came 
General Bragg, from Pensacola, with 10,000 
men ; General Polk, from Columbus ; General 
Ruggles, from New Orleans ; and General 
Beauregard, commanding the whole. In all, 
his force numbered about 50,000 men. General 
Grant, already stationed on what was destined 
to be the field of the Battle of Shiloh, had about 
38,000 men, and General Buell, marching to 
reinforce Grant, had something like 22,000 men. 



Johnston's troops as a whole were poorl}' 
armed. Thousands ot them were, in fact, 
practically without arms, and many regiments 
were under the necessity of borrowing rifles 
from other regiments with which to do their 
drills. Moreover, there was a serious deficiency 

and roads well-nigh impassable from heavy rains 
and overflowing streams ; but Grant, with false 
security, awaited his coming with no impatience. 
It seems never to have crossed Grant's mind 
that there existed a possibility of Johnston 
attacking him. He erected no breastworks, nor 



in ammunition, and the clothing of the majority 
of the troops was in a deplorable condition. 
But Johnston and his officers set to work with 
the greatest determination. Green regiments 
were broken into their duties, the country was 
scoured for volunteers, and train-loads of arms 
were hurried from the Atlantic coast. Johnston 
strained every nerve to complete arrangements 
and to get his army in a proper state to admit 
of his attacking Grant and beating him, before 
Buell could arrive with reinforcements. He had 
been so fortunate as to effect the concentration 
of his forces first, and there was, so it seemed to 
him, a good chance of finding himself in a posi- 
tion to fight the Northern army in sections. If 
he could but come at Grant before Buell arrived 
he entertained no fears of the results. Grant 
once beaten, a highway to the north would be 
thrown open to him. Buell, as it happened, 
was being seriously delayed by broken bridges 

does he seem to have taken the simple pre- 
caution of keeping a sharp look-out Avith scouts 
or pickets at a reasonable distance in front of 
him. The absence of ordinary prudence must 
have cost him thousands of lives in this, the 
Battle of Shiloh. 

All matters carefully arranged, Johnston deter- 
mined to strike at Grant without further delay, 
issuing marching orders on the afternoon of 
April 3rd, and the Confederate army set out to 
surprise the Federal army as it lay on the banks 
of the Tennessee. The marching force con- 
sisted of 40,000 men divided into three corps, 
commanded by Generals Bragg, Hardee, and 
Polk ; Breckenridge commanding the reserve 
Johnston, of course, assumed supreme command, 
and Beauregard was second in command, with- 
out specific orders. Hardee led the van, Bragg 
followed, and Polk and Breckenridge on the left 
and right brought up the rear. 



As it turned out, the march to Shiloh was one 
of galling hardship. Blinding sleet, and snow, and 
rain beat upon the advancing hosts that struggled 
along knee-deep in slush and mire, painfully 
dragging after them ladened waggons and heavy 
guns. Ill clad, poorly fed, and sore-footed from 
long marches to the place of concentration, the 
soldiers of the South still made the best of 
matters, and seemed as eager as their commander 
to strike the blow before it would be too late. 
Johnston hoped to reach a position to permit of 
his attacking Grant early on Saturday, April 
5th ; but when he saw the slow progress his men 
made along roads that were nothing but stretches 

Johnston bivouacked his r.rmy within four 
miles ot the Federal camp, and neither Grant 
nor his officers knew anything about the 

To show how completely in the dark the 
Federal commander must have been, it is on!}- 
necessary to look at official reports. 

Sherman on Saturday reported to Grant — 
"All is quiet along my line"; and later, " I do 
not apprehend anything like an attack upon 
our position." 

The same day Grant, reporting to his superior, 
Halleck, wrote—" I have scarcely the faintest 
idea of an attempt being made upon us"; and 


ol quagmire, he almost despaired ot ever cover- 
ing the miles that lay before him, and, indeed, 
gave up all hope of surprising the Federals. 
That Grant would fail to hear of his approach 
he could not believe. But in this he was mis- 
taken. Grant seemed to have abandoned all 
caution, and to have made very little, if any, 
attempt to keep himself in touch with the 
movements of the Confederates. 

After two days wallowing through the mire. 


in an earlier telegram he said — "The main 
force of the enemy is at Corinth." 

When he was writing these words the 
Confederate army, 40,000 strong, was at his 
very door. 

It clearly could never have entered the head 
of General Smith, when he picked upon Pitts- 
burg Landing as the proper camping-place for 
the Northern army until such time as accumu- 
lated forces warranted a march against Corinth, 



that there was a ghost oi a chance of the South 
assuming the offensive. Three sides of the 
camp were bordered by waterways impassable 
to troops. To the rear of the camp the 
broad Tennessee River flowed, to the right 
Snake Creek, to the left Lick Creek — both 
deep, sluggish, and unfordable. The ground 
enclosed by these waters was high, and in 
places deeply scarred with gullies. The situa- 
tion was a cid-de-sac^ the only opening that 
towards Corinth. And when on that Sunday 
morning General Johnston's army suddenly 
appeared, stretching across this opening, the 
army of the North found itself in a trap from 
which, it beaten, there could be no escape. 
Retreat was utterly impossible. There was 
nowhere to retreat. Never was an army more 
hopelessly hemmed about than the army of 
Grant at Shiloh. 

Shiloh Church stood at what may be called 
the entrance to the ciU-dc-sac. Against it, 
forming the right wing of Grant's army, lay 
Sherman, clearly the hero of the battle. In the 
centre, and on a line with Sherman, was stationed 
Prentiss, while at the extreme left near Lick 
Creek lay Stewart. To the left and rear of 
Sherman was McClernand, while in the rear lay 
the divisions of Generals Hurlbut and W. H. L. 
Wallace. Another General Wallace, Lewis by 
name, with 5,000 reserves, was encamped some 
miles distant on the northern side of Snake 
Creek. On the Tennessee River, opposite Pitts- 
burg Landing, a few gunboats rode at anchor, 
and these, later in the day, played a prominent 
part in the action. 

It was a few minutes after five o'clock on 
Sunday morning, April the bth, that Johnston 
ordered his army to advance. A short distance 
from the Northern army the Federal pickets 
were encountered. These were brushed aside, 
and the Southern soldiers came cheering 
and firing through the wood. Before the 
Federals encamped on the banks of the .Ten- 
nessee were rightly awake, the Confederates 
came charging down upon the camp. Sherman's 
men were the first encountered. The firing of 
the pickets and the subsequent cannonading 
had awakened this general to the situation, and 
he called his men under arms, and drew them 
up to resist the attack. Sherman's brigades 
standing lirm as a rock, the Confederate attack 
glanced off his ranks and struck Prentiss with 
-irresistible force. This unfortunate general 
attempted to stay the charge, and tor some 
minutes his men, half-dressed and in confusion. 

fought valiantlv ; but in a very short time 
Prentiss himself and whole companies of his men 
were surrounded and taken prisoners, his guns 
captured, and hisjcamp overrun and destroyed. 

Grant on Saturday had received a request 
from General Buell to meet him at Savannah on 
this Sunday morning. Little thinking that an 
engagement was imminent. Grant had gone 
thither to keep the appointment, and the first 
news he had of the Confederate movements 
was conveyed to him by the thundering of 
the cannon. Listening, he soon realised that 
a serious engagement was beginning. Taking 
steamer to Pittsburg Landing, he arrived on 
the scene of battle at eight o'clock, and found 
the whole Confederate army about his ears. 
With 33,000 men, to all intents and purposes 
men who had been taken by surprise, he had to 
fight 40,000, who for days had been looking 
forward to the fray. Already his men had been 
driven back all along the line. The situation 
was desperate, Sherman alone having for the 
three hours made a good struggle of it. Stub- 
bornly fighting against overwhelming odds, 
himself sorely wounded, and his men falling by 
scores about him. General Sherman held his 
ground so that those behind him might have 
time to get into line and take up favourable 
positions. Hard pressed, and in the thick of the 
fire, he rode up and down the lines, personally 
supervising every detail" of the fight, and nerving 
his men to the great occasion. But the soldiers 
of the South were not to be gainsaid. Like a 
wedge, they drove themselves between Sherman 
and Prentiss, being slaughtered by hundreds 
in the process ; but, unflinchingly persevering, 
thev assailed Sherman's left so savagely that 
the general was in the end forced to use his 
right as a pivot, and in that wa}- to swing his 
whole command into a fresh position to save his 
left being turned. In the process he lost two of 
his batteries and his camp. This movement of 
Sherman's permitted General Johnston to hurl 
his forces against McClernand, who, unable to 
withstand the ferocity of the charge, was driven 
far back. Stewart, who held the extreme left 
near Lick Creek, also fell back, and Hurlbut in 
the centre was only saved from annihilation b}' 
General W. H. L. Wallace's division coming to 
his succour, and allowing his command to retire 
from the open ground into a wood, where all 
the day he was obliged to fight like a tiger, 
withstanding charge after charge delivered by 
the fiery Southerners. In the defence of this 
position General W. H. L. Wallace vras killed. 



General Lewis Wallace, in command ot the 
Federal reserves — 5,000 men — lay the other side 
of Snake Creek, and for his arrival Grant waited 
with impatience, for matters were becoming 
desperate. The only way Wallace could possibly 
reach the scene of battle was by means of a 
bridge across Snake Creek, and so it seemed to 
Grant the existence of his army now depended 
on this bridge being held against capture. 
Sherman knew this, too, and he gradually fell 
back, until to fall back any further meant the 
loss of the bridge. Then he took up as favourable 
a position as he could find, and refused to retreat 
one step more, although one-half of the Con- 
federate army dashed against his lines. During 
the long hours that he stood there, waiting for 
Lewis Wallace and the reserves, it seemed as 
though his whole command must be wiped out 
of existence. 

Drawn up in the partial cover of a wood, 
with before them open rough country, across 
which the enemy's forces must rush, and with 
the knowledge that should they allow themselves 
to be forced back their whole army would be 
exterminated, each Federal under Sherman and 
McClernand stood and fought with the despera- 
tion of a trapped and stricken tiger. General 
Johnston, hoping to force the position, hurried 
forward brigade after brigade, and hurled them 
against the soldiers of the North. Again and 
again the van of the Confederates pierced the 
ranks of the Federals, fighting hand to hand 
and face to face, with thrust of bayonet and 
crash of clubbed rifle, but pierced the line only 
to be blotted out of existence by the men who 
stood, as it were, with their backs to a wall, and 
who fought the fight of grim despair. This was 
the first great slaughter-pen of the bloody battle 
of Shiloh. Whole companies of Southern troops, 
bareheaded, barefooted, in rags, hungry, and ill- 
equipped, but undaunted and determined, rushed 
headlong across the rugged ground, and with 
the fury of fanatics flew at the hemmed-in ranks 
of the North, only to be beaten back by those 
who could go back no farther. The men of the 
North grimly held to their position, trusting 
that fate would soon bring Lewis Wallace and 
his reserves on the scene to succour an alreadj- 
defeated ami}-. 

The South fought for victory, but the North 
fought for time, for darkness, for life. 

At ten o'clock in the morning General John- 
ston had the satisfaction of knowing that all 
his plans had worked out to a nicety. He 
had forced Grant into a corner, carried position 

after position, captured manj- guns, and taken 
prisoners by hundreds. Grant's army was now 
confined in a space of not more than 400 
acres. At eleven o'clock there came a lull in 
the fight. The time had arrived for General 
Johnston to begin the second movement of his 
plan of battle. This was to turn Grant's left, 
sweep him from Pittsburg Landing, and crush 
the left against Sherman on the right. To do 
this the Confederates must advance across open 
ground in the very teeth of batteries and in- 
trenched infantry. In the thick of this, the 

most difficult work of the day, the South 
suff"ered a sudden and irreparable loss. General 
Johnston while directing the movement was 
struck b}- a rifle-bullet. He fell, and almost 
immediately died. The news ran trom lip to 
lip, and checked the charge. And, to add to 
the confusion. General Beauregard, on whom 
the command devolved, could not at once be 
found to be told that his chief was dead. The 
fight still continued, but during the time it took 
to find Beauregard, and the further time that 
elapsed betore he could get the strings ot battle 
into his hands, the Southerners fought them- 
selves into some confusion, and Grant was able 
to re-form and tighten up his lines. Moreover, 
the Southerners had driven the Federals so 
close to the river that the}' themselves, in 
following up their successes, found themselves 



within range ot the guns aboard the boats on 
the Tennessee River, and shells from the gun- 
boats began to play havoc in the Confederate 
lines. But this could not be helped. It was 
the price of success. The afternoon was ad- 
vancing, and Beauregard hastened to the task 
of the turning of the left before darkness should 
make further fighting impossible. Across the 
ground that divided Federal from Confederate 
ran a deep scar, and on the shoulder ot the 
opposite bank of this Grant had thrown up 

reporting the state of things after the first day's 
fight, said : 

" At six o'clock p.m. we were in possession of 
all his encampments between Owl (a tributary 
of Snake Creek) and Lick Creeks but one, 
nearly all his field artillery, about thirty flags, 
colours, and standards, over three thousand 
prisoners, including a division commander 
(General Prentiss) and several brigade com- 
manders, thousands of small-arms, an immense 
supply of subsistence, forage, and munition! cf 


some hasty breastworks. When the Southern- 
ers dashed into this gully, shot and shell from 
the gunboats on the river shrieked up the 
length of it, and an appalling rifle-fire came 
down the slope and into the mass of men that 
struggled forward to take the breastwork. Th-a 
Federals were at their last resource. It the 
breastwork should be taken, and their left 
turned, it meant the end of all things to them. 
The Confederates, too, were in desperation, for 
night was falling upon the land, and victory still 
unwon. Into the valley they poured, and up 
the bank they struggled and scrambled, but 
scarcely one of them reached the top. Shot 
and shell and bayonet-thrust soon filled the 
valley with Southern dead and wounded ; and 
while the fight still continued, darkness fell, and 
put an end to the day's struggle. Beauregard, 

war, and a large amount of means of transpor- 
tation—all the substantial fruits of a complete 
victor}' — such, indeed, as rarely have followed 
the most successful battles." 

But this was to be the end of the fruits of 
victory for the South. 

When the bugles rang out on the evening 
air the order to cease fighting, the soldiers of the 
North, as well as those of the South, sank to 
the ground in hopeless exhaustion. They had 
fought like fiends from early morning, travelled 
miles of country, scrambled through thickets, 
across quagmires and stagnant waters, hauling 
guns and waggons and stores, assisting the 
wounded, savagely attacking and repulsing 
attack ; and now that a truce for the night had 
been declared, the soldiers found themselves so 
worn and weak that man}' paid no attention to 


the cravings of hunger and the urgings towards 
material comforts, but lay down on the ground 
and bivouacked where they had stood when the 
order to cease fighting reached them. 

All the dark, stormy night it rained a chilling 


Tennessee, kept up a deafening bombardment 
of the Confederate quarters throughout the 
whole of the night, the shells shrieking and 
crashing among the trees, hurling great limbs, 
and even whole tree-tops, to the ground, and 


rain. A cold wind moaned through the trees, 
and so exhausted were the unwounded that the 
wounded lay in the main rmattended. (jrant 
himself lay with no other covering than the 
clothes he wore, his head to the stump of a 
tree, and passed the night as best he could. To 
add to the horrors of the night, the two gun- 
boats, riding safely upon the bosom of the 

finally setting fire to the leaves tiiat were on 
the ground and the underbrush, until the badly 
wounded were burned where they la}'. 

It was indeed a night of horror, of suffering, 
and ot despair. 

But worst of all for the South, in the middle 
of the night Buell arrived, and had the field of 
battle explained to him ; and when the morning 



dawned, his army — 22,coo men — fresh and eager 
to fight, marched upon the scene, together with 
General Wallace's 5,000 reserve. When Beau- 
regard arose to continue the battle, he found 
himself hopelessly outnumbered, and, fighting 
braveh" still, was rapidly driven from all the 
advantages he had gained, and in the end 
routed. His men marched a miserable march 
to Corinth, again through sleet and mire, but, 
ftirtunately for them, the North had been too 
sorely cut up to follow for any great distance. 
In this woeful retreat 300 men died of cold and 

In this Battle of Shiloh about 100,000 troops 
all together were engaged, and of these 23,269 
were killed, wounded, or missing. It was 
simply a hard, stubborn fight from start to 
finish ; and the death of Johnston, and Buell's 
fortunate arrival in the nick of time, in all like- 
lihood saved the Northern army from a most 
disastrous defeat. The Confederates fought 
with the fury that distinguished them all 
through the war. On the other hand, the 
Federals fought with the dogged determination 
wiiich ultimately won them the rights for which 

thev had taken up Draper, in his history 
of the American Civil War, gives the following 
as the Federal and Confederate losses : — 

In (Grant's army there were six divisions. 
Their losses, in killed and wounded, were : — 

ist. McClernand's, loss both days i,S6i 

2nd. W. H. L. Wallace's, loss both days... 2,424 

3rd. Lewis Wallace's, loss second day 305 

4th. Hurlbut's, loss both days ... ... 1.985 

5th. Sherman's, loss both days ... ... 2,031 

6th. F'rentiss' (no report), loss estimated 2,000 

Aggregate loss 10,606 

Of BuelFs army, four divisions had marched 
to Grant's aid ; of these, three were engaged : — ■ 

2nd. McCook's loss 
4th. Nelson's loss ... 
5th. Crittenden's loss 


.Aggregate loss 1,964 

The Confederate were 1,728 killed, 
8,012 wounded, 959 missing. Total, 10,699. 

General Beauregard, after Shiloh, retired 
from the command of the Confederate forces on 
the plea of ill-health, and General Bragg was 
made permanent commander. 


[Photo., Handy, South Wmhington, D.C, 


THE 31st of January, 1874, will long be 
a day noted in the memories of the 
people who were, prior to that time, a 
scourge to their neighbours and a 
standing menace to the native tribes under 
the British protectorate at Cape Coast. It is 
probable that the exact date itself has long ere 
this been forgotten, even if — which is very 
doubtful — the Ashantis possess a calendar, or 
have any means of calculating the dates of events, 
unless these happen to occur on the longest 
cr shortest day, or, perhaps, on the occasion 
of a new or full moon. The memory of the 
battle, however, owing to a singular custom that 
prevails among them and the other peoples of 
ihe coast, will never be lost as long as the 
Ashantis remain a tribe. As the Greeks and 
iiomaiis used to swear by their divinities, the 
Ashantis swear by their misfortunes ; and the 
most solemn oath that can be taken by a king 
or chief of these peoples is a national defeat 
or disaster. Assuredly, then, Amoaful will for 
many generations be one of the most binding 
oaths among the Ashantis. 

Ashanti had long shared with Dahomey the 
reputation of being the most warlike and blood- 
thirsty of the peoples of West Africa ; they were 
constantly at war with their neighbours, the 
object of the incursions committed being not so 
much the extension of territory as the carrying 
away of large numbers of prisoners, to be 
sacrificed- on the occasions of their solemn 
festivals. They had long borne ill-will to the 
British at Cape Coast, because of ihe protection 
granted by us to the Fanti tribes ; and from the 
commencement of the present centurj' hostilities 
have broken out at frequent intervals, and more 
than once the Ashantis have carried fire and 
sword up to the very walls of Cape Coast, and 
on one occasion defeated and destroyed a British 
force under Sir Charles Macarthy. 

This state of occasional warfare might have 
continued indefinitely, had not the British ex- 
changed some possessions with the Portuguese, 
acquiring by this transaction the town of Elmina, 
some five miles north of Cape Coast Castle, and 
the protectorate of the district lying behind it. 
The tribe of this district had been allies of the 
Ashantis, and Elmina itself had been their port 
of trade. The Portuguese had been in the habit 
of paying a small annual sum to the Ashanti ; 
this sum was considered by them to be a present, 
but was regarded by the Ashantis as a tribute. 
Ashanti, therefore, objected to the transfer, and 
marched an army across the Prah to the 
assistance of their allies in the districts dependent 
on Elmina. Early in June, having brushed aside 
the resistance of the Fantis. the invading army 
reached Elmina, being joined by all the tribes in 
its neighbourhood. A small party of Marines 
and Marine Artillery were landed from the ships 
on the coast, and inflicted a severe blow on the 
invaders as they were on the point of entering 
the town. 

The position was so serious that the British 
Government sent out Sir Garnet Wolseley, with 
some twenty British oflficers, to organise, if pos- 
sible, a native force to cope with the enemy : or, 
if this could not be done, to prepare the way for 
the landing of a British force of suflficient strength 
to strike a heavy blow at the Ashantis in their 
own country. Just as the party left England, 
a disaster befell us. Commodore Commerell 
started to ascend the Prah with boats from the 
squadron on the coast. They had gone but a 
short distance when they were fired upon by the 
Ashantis, in ambush behind the bushes lining 
the bank of the river. Commodore Commerell 
was severely wounded, as were other officers and 
many seamen, and the expedition was forced to 

The attempt to get up a large native force 



failed ; but an expedition was undertaken from 
Elniina, composed of blue-jackets and marines, 
and a portion ot the 2nd West Indian Regi- 
ment, and this, after a sharp brush with the 
enemy, burnt several villages and cleared the 
neighbourhood of the Ashantis, who had been 
suffering very much during the wet season from 
disease and the want of food. An attack on 
Abra Crampa, whose king^had joined us heartily, 

and when these landed, early in Januar\-, all was 
ready for their advance. The force consisted of 
a battalion of the Rifle Brigade and the 42nd ; 
the 23rd Regiment remained on board the trans- 
port that had brought them, it being considered 
that it was better for them to stay in reserve, as 
the difficulties of carriage were so great that the 
fewer the number of men taken up the better. 
There was also a naval brigade, composed of 


i?7 V . 5 '^'^^r'^'I:>-''' 


was repulsed ; there was sharp fighting at 
Dunqua and other skirmishes ; and the Ashantis, 
disheartened by want of success, and more 
than decimated b}' tever, fell back across the 
Prah. The invasion had, thus far, been repelled 
solely by the naval forces, aided by the 2nd West 
Indian Regiment and two native regiments com- 
manded by Sir Evelyn Wood and Major Baker 
Russell, each of whom had some eight English 
officers under him. 

A road was made to the Prah, huts erected at 
suitable distances for the use of the white troops, 

blue-jackets and marines, some companies of the 
1st and 2nd West Indian Regiments, Wood and 
Russell's native regiments, and a battery of 
little mountain guns commanded by Captain 
Rait, and manned by natives trained by him. 
and a small party of Royal Engineers. After 
a few skirmishes of no great importance, the 
force made their way nearly to Amoaful, where 
it was known that the Ashanti army was 
assembled in force to oppose their further 

The white regiments halted at Ingafoo, while 




the two native regiments, with the Engineers 
and Rait's artillery, marched forward to Quar- 
man, a little more than half a mile from the 
enemy's outposts. Lord GifFord, who com- 
manded the scouts, lay all day in the bushes 
within sound of the voices of the Ashanti, while 
Major Home, R.E., with the sappers, cut paths 
almost up to the edge of the bush. At half-past 
seven on the morning of the 31st of January, a 
naval brigade, with two companies of the 23rd 
who had just come up, the 42nd, and Rifle 
Brigade, arrived at Ouarman and marched on 
without a halt, followed by the force already in 
the village, where a garrison was left with the 
baggage. The two native regiments were 
now reduced to but seven companies altogether, 
owing to the necessity for leaving garrisons a', 
the various posts along the road. The plan of 
operations had already been determined upon. 
The 42nd Regiment were to form the main 
attacking force. They were first to drive the 
enemy's scouts from the little village of Aga- 
massie, just outside the bushes where GifFord's 
scouts were lying, and were then to move straight 
on, extending to the right and left of the path, 
and, if possible, to advance in a skirmishing line 
through to the bush. Two guns of Rait's battery 
were to be in their centre, and to move upon the 
path itself. Half the naval brigade and Wood's 
regiment were first to cut a path out to the right, 
and then to turn parallel with the main path, so 
that the head of the column should touch the 
right of the skirmishing line of the 42nd, while 
the other half of the naval brigade, with Russell's 
regiment, was to proceed in similar fashion on 
the left. 

The two companies of the 23rd were to come on 
behind the headquarter staff; the Rifle Brigade 
were to remain in reserve. The intention was 
that the whole should form a sort of hollow 
square, the column on the right and left pro- 
tecting the 42nd from the flanking movements 
upon which the Ashantis were always accus- 
tomed to rely for victory. With each of the 
flanking columns were detachments of Rait's 
battery with rocket tubes. 

The 42nd, as they burst out from the bush, 
encountered but little opposition ; the eight or 
ten houses composing the village being occupied 
by but a small party of the enemy, who fled 
at once into the bush beyond. This wms so 
thick, and the open ground round the village 
so small, that it was necessary to clear away a 
space for the bearers of the litters, surgical 
appliances, and spare ammunition, and it was 

nearly half an hour before the rest of the force 
issued from the narrow path into the open. 

The pause had been a trying one, for a 
tremendous roar of fire told that the Black 
Watch were hotly engaged, and, indeed, had 
gained but a distance of a couple of hundred 
yards while the native labourers Avere clearing 
the bush round the village. As soon as they 
reached the open space, the flanking columns 
turned off to the right and left, and it was not 
long before the increasing roar of musketry 
showed that they, too, were engaged. 

The scene bore little resemblance to that 
presented by any modern battle-field. The 
Ashanti bush consists of a thick wood of trees 
some forty or fifty feet high, covered and inter- 
laced with vines and creepers, while the heat and 
moisture enable a dense undergrowth to flourish 
beneath their shade. Above all tower the giants 
of the forest, principally cotton trees, which 
often attain a height of from 250 to 300 feet. 

Progress through this mass of jungle and 
thorn is impossible even for the natives, except 
where paths are cut with hatchet or sword. 
These paths are generally wide enough only for 
a single file, and two persons meeting in opposite 
directions have a difficulty in passing each other, 
the more so as long use wears down the soft, 
moist earth until the tracks are converted into 
ditches two or three feet deep. The ground 
across which the 42nd were trying to force their 
way w^as more open than usual, owing probably 
to the undergrowth having been cleared away 
to furnish firing to the little village. It was 
somewhat undulating, and the depressions were 
soft and swampy. Each little rise was held 
obstinatel}" by the enemy, who, lying down 
beyond the crest, behind trees, or in clumps 
of bush, kept up an incessant fire against the 
Black Watch ; and even the aid of Rait's two 
little guns and two rocket troughs failed to over- 
come their resistance. The two flanking columns 
encountered even more strenuous opposition : 
before they could advance into the bush a way 
had to be cut for them by the natives under the 
orders of the Engineer officers. Although the 
troops endeavoured to cover this operation by 
an incessant fire into the bush on either side, 
the service was a desperate one. Several of the 
men fell dead from the fire of their hidden foes, 
others staggered back badly wounded, and 
Captain Buckle, of the Royal Engineers, one of 
the most zealous and energetic officers of the 
expedition, fell mortally wounded by two slugs 
in the neighbourhood of the heart. 



Little wonder was it that, althouga the natives 
behaved with singular courage, at times the\- 
quailed under the fire to which they were ex- 
posed ; consequently the advance of the two 
columns soon came to a standstill, and the 
men lying down kept up a constant fire on 
the unseen enemy, directing their aim solely 
at the puffs of smoke spurting from the bushes. 
So difficult was it to keep the direction in this 
dense bush that both columns had swerved 
from the line on which it was intended that 
they should advance. The roar of fire was so 
general and continuous that none of the three 
columns were in any degree certain as to the 
direction in which the others lay, and from each 
of them messenger after messenger was sent 
back to Sir Garnet Wolseley, who had taken up 
his position with his staff at the village, com- 
plaining that the men were exposed to the fire 
from the other columns. 

The noise was, indeed, out of all proportion to 
the number of combatants. The Ashantis use 
enormous charges of powder — which, indeed, 
would be absolutely destructive to the old Tower 
muskets with which they were armed were these- 
loaded with tightly-fitting bullets. This, how- 
ever, was not the case, as on the powder three 
or four slugs of roughly chopped- up lead were 
dropped loosely down : the noise made by the 
explosion of the muskets so charged was almost 
as loud as that of small field-pieces ; and, indeed, 
although but two or three hundred yards from 
the village the reports of Rait's mountain guns 
were absolutely indistinguishable in the din. 
The trees broke up the sound in a singular 
manner, and the result was a strange and con- 
fused reverberation, mingled with the hissing 
sound rising from the storm of bullets and slugs 
mingled with that of the rockets. Well was it 
for our soldiers that the enemy used such heavy 
charges, for these caused the muskets to throw 
high, and the slugs for the most part whistled 
harmlessly over the heads of the troops and 
almost covered them with the showers of leaves 
cut from the trees overhead. 

For an hour this state of things continued, 
the two companies of the 23rd were then ordered 
to advance along the main path and to aid the 
42nd in clearing the bush, where the Ashantis 
still fought stubbornly not two hundred yards 
from the village. Two companies of the Rifle 
Brigade were sent up the left-hand road to keep 
that path intact up to the rear of the Xaval 
Brigade, while on the right, the rear of Colonel 
Wood's column was ordered to advance further 

to the right, so that the column might form a 
diagonal line, and firing to their right only, net 
only cover the flank of the 42nd, but do away 
with the risk of stray shots striking them. 
Wounded men were now coming fast into the 
village— 42nd, Rifles, Naval Brigade, and natives. 
On the left the firing gradually ceased, and 
Colonel McLeod, who commanded there, sent 
in to the general to say that he was no longer 
tiotly attacked, but that he had altogether lost 
touch of the left of the 42nd. He was therefore 
ordered to cut a road north-east until he came 
in contact with them. He experienced a resolute 
opposition, but the rockets gradually drove the 
Ashantis back. In the meantime, the 42nd were 
fighting hard. In front of them was a swamp, 
and on the rise opposite the ground was covered 

with the little arbours that constitute an 
Ashanti camp. Not an enemy was to be seen, 
but from the opposite side the puffs of smoke 
came thick and fast, and a perfect rain of slugs 
swept over the ground on which the 42nd were 
lying. The path was so narrow that Rait 
could iDring but one gun into position. This he 
pushed boldly forward, and, aided by Lieutenant 
Saunders, poured round after round of grape 
into the enemy until their fire slackened and 
the 42nd were again able to advance. 

Step by step they won their way, each ad- 
vance being covered by the little gun, which did 
terrible execution among the crowded, though 
unseen, ranks of the enemy. The camp was 
won ; but beyond it the bush was thick and 
absolutely impenetrable for a white soldier, and 
it was necessar\- to advance solely by the narrow 
path. This was swept by a storm of slugs from 
the bush on either side, although the Snider 
bullets searched the bush and the guns poured 



m showers of grape. At last the Ashanti fire 
diminished, and the troops dashed forward up 
the lane, and the bush thickened on either side 
until too dense even for the Ashantis to occupy 
it. With a cheer the Black Watch issued trom 
the upper end of the pass, and spread out into 
the wide open space dividing the village of 
Amoaful into two sections. For a short time 
the Ashantis kept up a fire from the houses and 
from the other end of the cleared space, but the 
42nd soon drove them from the houses ; and a 
shell from a gun fell among a group at the 
farther end of the clearing and killed eight of 
them, and the rest retreated at once. Major 
McPherson and eight other officers were 
wounded, and the total of 104 casualties in a 
force of 450 men showed how severe had been 
the struggle. 

It was now twelve o'clock, and although thev 
had lost their camp and village and had suffered 
terribly, the Ashantis were not 3-et finallv beaten. 
The principal part of the force that had been 
engaged upon our left had swept round to the 
right, and were pressing hard upon our right 
column, and cutting in between them and the 
42nd. Fortunately, however, the left column 
had cut its path rather too much to the east and 
now came into the main path, and so formed a 
connecting link between the 42nd at Amoaful 
and the head of the right column. Although 
the latter had been strengthened by the ad- 
dition of a company of the Rifles, it suffered 
severely : Colonel Wood and six naval officers 
were wounded, together with some forty men. 
The fire of the eneni}- at last slackened, and it 
seemed as if all was over, when suddenl}- a 
tremendous fire broke out from the rear of the 
column, showing that the Ashantis were making 
a last and desperate effort to turn our right 
flank, and to retake the village from which they 
had been driven in the morning. 

For a few minutes the scene in the village was 
exciting. So near were the enem}- that the slugs 
came pattering down among the remainder of 
the Rifles still held in reserve there, and thev and 
the guard of the reserve ammunition prepared to 
resist an attack, three companies of the Rifles at 
once moving out to prolong the rear of the right 
column, and so to cover that side of the village. 
For a while the roar of musketiy was as heavy 
and continuous as it had been during the morn- 
ing, and continued so for three-quarters of an 
hour. While it was going on another strong 
body of the enemy attacked Ouarman, but the 
small force of forty men of the 2nd West Indian 

Regiment and half a company of Wood's regi- 
ment, under the command of Captain Burnett, 
although taken by surprise — for with a great 
battle raging but half a mile away, they had no 
idea of being attacked — defended themselves with 
great gallantry, and even sallied out and brought 
in a convoy that had arrived near the village, 
and finally, being reinforced by a company of 
Rifles, took the offensive and drove off theii 

Finding themselves met on whatever side 
they attacked, the Ashanti fire began to relax. 
As soon as it did so, Sir Garnet gave the word 
for the line to advance, sweeping round from 
the rear so as to drive the enemy northward 
before them. The movement was admirably 
executed. A company of men who had been 
raised at Bonny, and who had fought steadily 
and silently all the time they had been on the 
defensive, now raised their shrill w^ar-cry, and 
slinging their rifles and drawing their swords, 
dashed eagerlv forward, while bv their sides, 
skirmishing as steadily and quietly as if on 
parade, the men of the Rifle Brigade searched 
every bush with their bullets ; and in five minutes 
from the commencement of their advance the 
Ashantis were in full retreat. 

The number of casualties on the part of the 
white and native troops anioimted to about 250 
■ — a very heavy proportion, considering the com- 
paratively small number of the force engaged. 
Fortunately the wounds, for the most part, were 
comparatively slight : the flj'ing slugs inflicted 
uglv-looking gashes, but seldom penetrated far. 
Captain Buckle, of the Engineers, was the only 
officer killed, but the number of wounded was 
large, and included two other Engineer officers 
out of the total of five engaged. 

No one had shown more determined bravery 
than the natives, who worked as sappers under 
their orders. The work ,was trying enough 
for the men, who for five hours remained 
prone, returning the fire of their invisible 
foes. The natives, however, for the same 
time, were working continuously, cutting paths 
through the thick bush and exposed defence- 
less to the enemy's fire. Nearly half their 
number were among the wounded. The total 
number of deaths did not exceed twenty. On 
the side of the Ashantis no accurate record was 
obtained of the number who fell. It is their 
custom always to carry off the killed and 
wounded, unless hotly pressed ; and therefore, 
until the last rush of the Black Watch into 
Amoaful, they had ample- time to follow their 



usual custom. Nevertheless, the number of 
dead found was very large, and the lowest calcu- 
lation placed their loss at 2,000. Among these 
was Amnion Quatia, the general-in-chief of the 
Ashantis, and Aboo, one of the six great tribu- 
tary kings of Ashanti. The Ashantis fought 
with extraordinary pluck and resolution ; they, 

to the British for their long endurance ot a 
terrific fire from unseen foes, by the manner in 
which they fought under conditions so absolutely 
novel to them, and for the unwavering resolution 
with which they won their way through the 
bush and finally defeated a foe of ten times their 
own numerical force. The victory of Amoaful 

*'eacii little rise was held oe.^tinately by the 
enemy" (^ 218). 

indeed, enormously outnumbered the little 
British force, and their position was admirably 
adapted for their peculiar method of fighting. 
But, on the other hand, they were wretchedly 
armed, and their old and worn-out muskets were 
poor weapons indeed compared with the breech- 
loaders of the whites, who had, in addition, the 
assistance of their guns and rocket tubes. 

Great credit was due to both sides : to the 
Ashantis for their obstinate and long-continued 
defence, and for the vigour with which, when 
their centre was penetrated, they strove to re- 
deem the day by their flank attack upon us ; 

virtually decided the result of the campaign, for 
although the Ashantis fought again on the other 
side of the river Dab, the terrible punishment 
inflicted upon them at Amoaful had greatly 
reduced their spirit ; nevertheless, they fought 

On this occasion the Bonny men led the ad- 
vance up the path beyond the river, and before 
they had gone half a mile were hotly engaged. 
Lieutenant Saunders, with one of Kait's guns, 
endeavoured to clear the bushes, but little pro- 
gress was made for twc» hours, and Lieutenant 
Eyre, the adjutant of Wood's regiment, fell 



mortally wounded when standing near the gun. 
The Rifles now relieved the Bonny men, and led 
the advance, and made their way slowly forward 
until within fifty yards of a large clearing, sur- 
rounding a village ; then with a cheer they rushed 
forward, drove the enemy from the clearing, and 
occupied the village. But behind them the 
combat raged for another two hours. The troops 
lined the sides of the path, and repulsed all the 
eff"orts of the Ashantif to break through them, 
holding the position while the native carriers 
took the stores, spare ammunition, and medical 
comforts along the path and up to the village. 
As soon as the last of these had passed along, the 
troops followed, until the whole force were 
gathered in and round the village. 

The loss of the Ashantis can have been but little 
inferior to that which they suffered at Amoaful, 
for they several times approached in such masses 
that the whole bush swayed and moved as they 
pushed forward. On the other hand, our casual- 
ties were very slight, for as the road was, like all 
the paths in the country, hollowed out by the 
traffic fully two feet below the general level, the 
troops lying there were protected as by a breast- 
work of that height. When the whole force 
were assembled in the village, the enem}- still 
kept up serious and desperate attacks upon the 
rear, but were always repulsed by the Rifles, who 
lined the edge of the clearing. Mingled with the 
continued din of musketry was the lugubrious 
roar of the great war-horns throughout the 
woods, and the wild war-cry of the Ashantis. 

The halt was a short one ; Coomassie was 
still six miles distant, and soon after the force 
were gathered round the village the Highlanders, 
with Rait's guns, moved forward along the path. 
For the first twenty minutes the fire of the 
enemy was very heavy, but when the Black 
Watch gained the crest of the rise beyond the 
village, the resistance became more feeble, and 
they dashed forward at the double, sweeping all 
opposition aside. The resistance.of the Ashantis 
at once ceased ; they had done all that was pos- 
sible for them to do to oppose our advance, and 
had failed. Their main body was still in the rear 
of the village, engaged in unavailing attacks upon 
the force there. Probably their best and bravest 
troops were with this force, and at the rapid 
advance of the 42nd a panic seized the defenders 
of the path ; those in the bush could not hope 
to move forward as rapidly as did the troops in 
the open, while those in the villages along the 
path, warned by flying fugitives of the rapid 
approach of the foe, joined in their flight. The 

road was strewn with articles of clothing, the 
stools of state of the chiefs, weapons, and food. 

From this time no single shot was fired. 
The warriors in the bush, seeing that they 
could not hope to get ahead of the advancing 
force and make another effort to defend the 
capital, either went off" at once to their villages, 
or made a wide circuit and came down behind 
Coomassie upon the road between that town and 
a spot, five miles away, where the kings of 
Ashanti were buried, and where, doubtless, 
another battle would have been fought had the 
troops advanced to the sacred spot. The 42nd 
halted at the last village before arriving at Coo- 
massie, until they were there joined b}' the rest 
of the force ; then, after crossing a deep and fetid 
marsh surrounding the town, they entered the 
capital of the enemy. It was not, as might have 
been expected, deserted : a good many of the 
inhabitants remained, some of the men being still 
armed, and watched with curiosity rather than 
with alarm, the entry of the white warriors 
who had broken the strength of their nation. 
Orders were given to disarm them at once ; but 
as soon as thev perceived that this was the case, 
thev gradually withdrew, and in half an hour 
the whole of the natives of Coomassie had dis- 
appeared in the bush. 

Several fires broke out in various parts of the 
town. Some of these may have been the work 
of the Ashantis themselves, but most of them 
were caused unquestionably by the native camp- 
followers, who, in spite of the stringent orders 
against looting, stole away in the darkness to 
gather plunder. Some of them were flogged, 
and one was hung, and then, after posting pickets 
thickly outside the town, the troops went off" 
to sleep. 

The next morning the captured town could be 
fairly seen. The streets were very wide ; trees 
grew in them ; and from the irregularity with 
which the houses were scattered about, it re- 
sembled a great straggling village rather than a 
town. The houses were of the kind with which 
the troops had already become familiar, and 
resembled the architecture of a Chinese temple 
rather than that of any other known building. 
Outside was an alcove with red steps, high raised 
floor, and white pillars supporting the roof. 
This formed the front of the house, and 
as there was no entrance from it into the 
interior, it was. in fact, a sort of summer- 
hovise and balcony, where the master must have 
sat to look at the passing world and chat with 
his acquaintances. Inside, the houses were all 



of the same character, comprising a number of 
little courts with alcoves on one or more sides. 
Ever3'thing in Coomassie bore signs of the super- 
stitious belief of the inhabitants in fetish. Over 
ever}'^ door was suspended a variety of charms — 
old stone weapons, nuts, gourds, amulets, beads, 
bits of china, bones, and odds-and-ends of all 
kinds. The principal apartments of the larger 
houses were lumbered up with drums, great um- 
brellas, and other paraphernalia of processions ; 
but there were no real valuables of any kind. 

The great objects of interest to the troops 
in the town were the palace and the great 
fetish-tree from which Coomassie took its name. 
In a large clump of bushes adjoining the latter 
were found the remains of some thousands of 
victims sacrificed in the bloody festivals. The 
majority were, of course, but skeletons ; but there 
were hundreds that could have lain there but 
a few weeks, many which must have been sacri- 
ficed within a few days. The stench from this 
charnel- place was horrible, and pervaded the 
whole town. The palace occupied a ver^' large 
extent of ground. It consisted of a central stone 
building of European architecture, which was used 
as a storehouse and was crowded with articles of 
furniture, silver plate, gold masks, clocks, glass. 

china, guns, cloth, and caskets, resembling in its 
confusion and the variety of its contents a suc- 
cession of auction-rooms. The rest of the palace 
was of native work — similar, but on a much 
larger scale, to the houses of the great chiefs. 

A horrible smell of blood pervaded the whole 
place — for many of the executions, were held in 
the palace itself. During the day the rain fell 
in torrents ; and as it became known that the 
king had gone right away into the interior of the 
country, as provisions were running very short, 
the troops were already feeling much the 
effects of the climate, and as the rains would 
swell ever}' stream and fill ever}- swamp, it was 
decided to make a start for the coast the next 
morning, after burning down the place that had 
been the scene of such countless horrors and atro- 
cities. This was done as the column marched 
out of the town. The Engineers fired the houses 
and blew up the king's palace ; and a vast cloud 
of smoke rising high into the air must have told 
the Ashantis, scattered far and wide through 
the forests, that vengeance had at last fallen on 
the city that had for so many years been regarded 
by them as sacred, and had been the object of 
superstitious terror and hate to the tribes for 
hundreds 01 miles round. 



^"^ CHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, the cradk of 
^^^ the Anglo-Saxon race, was the beau- 
y^^ tiful and interesting province which 
formed the bone of bloody contention 
between the Prussians and the Danes in the 
year 1864, just a year after the Prince of 
Wales had wedded the Danish " sea-king's 
daughter from over the sea," and made all 
Englishmen take the very deepest interest in 
the hopeless struggle of her undaunted country- 
men against an overwhelming foe. 

The cause of quarrel was one of the most com- 
plicated questions which ever vexed the minds 
of statesmen, and seemed so incapable of solution 
that an irreverent Frenchman once declared it 
vi'ould remain after the heavens and the earth 
had passed away. But on the death of Frederick 
VII. of Denmark, in November, 1863, Herr von 
Bismarck, who had the year before become 
Prussian Premier, determined that the difficulty 
should now be settled by " blood and iron." 
Briefly put, the new King of Denmark, Christian 
IX., father of the Princess of Wales, wanted to 
rule over the Elbe Duchies, as Schleswig- 
Holstein was called, in a way, as was thought 
at Berlin, unfavourable to the rights and Aspira- 
tions of their German population ; while, on the 
other hand, the Germanic Diet, or Council of 
German Sovereigns at Frankfort, was resolved 
that this should not be so. And rather than 
that this should be so, it decreed " execution " 
on the King of Denmark, who had a seat in the 
Diet as for the Duchies, and selected two of its 
members, Hanover and Saxony, to enforce its 

But not content with this, Austria and 
Prussia, the leading members of the Diet, also 
resolved to take the field, as executive bailiffs, 
so to speak, of the judgment of the German 
Court ; and this they did at the beginning of 
1864 with a united force of about 45.000 men. 

That was not so very large a force, considering 
the size of modern armies, but it was much 
larger than that opposed to it by the valiant 
Danes, about 36,000 in nvmiber, who were com- 
manded by General de Meza. The Austrians 
were commanded by Field-Marshal von Gablenz, 
and the Prussians by their own Prince Frederick 
Charles, surnamed the " Red Prince," from the 
scarlet uniform of his favomute regiment, the 
Zieten Hussars. 

The Commander of the combined Austro- 
Prussian army was the Prussian Field-Marshal 
von Wrangel — " old Papa Wrangel," as he wa> 
fondly called — who looked, and spoke, and acted 
like a survival from the time of the Thirty Years' 
or the Seven Years' War. He was a grim old 
bean sabreur, who, in his later days, used to 
grind his teeth (what of them were left) and 
scatter groschen among the street arabs of Berlin, 
under the impression that he was sowing a crop 
of bullets that would 3'et spring up and prove 
the death of all democrats and other nefarious 
characters dangerous to military monarchy and 
the rule of the sword in the civil state. 

'' /;/ Gottcs Namcn draiif ! " — " Forward in 
God's name" — "Papa" Wrangel had wired to 
the various contingents of his forces on the ist 
February, when at last the Danes had replied 
to his demands with an emphatic " No ! " and 
then the combined Austro-Prussian army swept 
over the Eider amid a blinding storm of snow. 

The Prussians took the right, the Austrians 
the left of the advance into the Duchies ; and 
after one or two preliminary actions of no great 
moment, the invaders reached the Danewerk, a 
very strong line of earthworks which had taken 
the place of the bulwark thrown up by the 
Danes in ancient times against the incursions 
of the Germans. Here the Prussians prepared 
for a stubborn resistance, but what was their 
surprise and their delight, on the morning of the 



6th February, to find that the Danes had evacu- 
ated overnight this first buhvark hne of theirs, 
leaving 154 guns and large quantities of stores 
and ammunition a prey to their enemies ! 
Caution, not cowardice, had been the motive 
of this retreat of theirs, for they saw that, if they 
had remained, they would have run the risk 
of being outflanked and outnumbered ; so they 
determined, from reasons of military policy, to 
retire further northward and take up their 
dogged stand behind 
their second line of 
entrenchments at 
Diippel, there to 
await the assault of 
their overwhelming 

Sending on the 
Austrians on the 
left into Jutland to 
dispose of the Danes 
in that quarter, 
" Papa " Wrangel 
selected the " Red 
Princs " and his 
Prussians to crack 
the nuts which had 
been thrown in 
their way in the 
shape of the re- 
doubts of Diippel. 
Prince Frederick 
Charles was one of 

the best and bravest soldiers that had been 
produced by the fighting family of the Hohen- 
zollerns since the time of Frederick the Great. 
A man about the middle height, strongly 
built, broad-shouldered, florid-faced, sandy- 
bearded, bull-necked, rough in manner and 
speech, and homely in all his ways — he 
was just the sort of leader to command the 
affections and stimulate the courage of the 
Prussian soldier. There was much of the bull- 
dog in the "Red Prince," so he was the very 
man to entrust with such a task as that of 
hanging on to the Danes at Diippel. 

Yet this task was one of exceedmg difficulty, 
for the redoubts of Diippel formed such a for- 
midable line of defence as had rarely, if ever, 
before opposed the advance of an invading army 
in the open field. All the natural advantages of 
ground, with its happ}^ configuration of land and 
water, were on the side of the Danes, ^vhose 
main object it was to prevent their foes from 
setting foot on the Schleswig island of Alsen, 


forming a stepping-stone, so to speak, to Den- 
mark itself, much in the same way as the island 
of Anglesey does to Ireland. To continue the 
comparison, the Menai Strait corresponds to the 
Alsen-Sund which separates the mainland of 
Schleswig from the island of Alsen. Of this 
island the chief town is Sonderburg, which was 
connected by the mainland, into which it looks 
over, by two pontoon bridges, at the end of 
which the Danes threw up a tetc-du-pont^ or 

bridge-head en- 
trenchment, to de- 
fend the approach 
and passage ; while 
about a couple of 
miles further inland 
they had constructed 
a chain of no fevrer 
than ten heavy 
forts, or redoubts, 
all connected by 
lesser earthworks 
and entrenchments. 
This line of re- 
doubts, about three 
miles long, ran 
right across the 
neck of a penin- 
sula of the main- 
land, called the 
Sundewitt, one end 
resting on the Alsen- 
Sund and the other 
bay, of the Baltic, called the 
The redoubts were placed 
of a ridge which overlooked 


on a gulf, or 
alonff the brow 

and commanded all the undulating country for 
miles in front, while in the rear again the 
ground dipped away gently down towards 
the Alsen-Sund and its bridge-head, affording 
fine shelter and camping-ground to the Danes. 
A lovelier or more romantic-looking region, 
with its winding bays and silver-glancing straits, 
its picturesque blending of wood and water, 
could scarcely be imagined. 

Such a position as that which the Danes had 
taken up would have been of no value whatever 
against foes like the English, seeing that the 
latter might have gone with their warships and 
shelled the Danes clean out of their line of 
redoubts without ever so much as landing a 
single man, for, as already explained, the Hne of 
forts rested on the sea at both ends. But at this 
time, fortunately for the Danes, the Prussians 
had little or nothing of a navy, so that they 



must needs essay on land what they could not 
attempt by sea ; while the Danes, on the other 
hand, though weaker on land, were decidedly 
superior to their foes on water. In particular, 
they had one warship, or monitor, the Rolf 
Krake, which gained immortal fame by the 
bold and devil-may-care manner in which it 
worried, and harassed, and damaged, and kept 
the Prussians perpetually awake. It lurked like 
a corsair in the corners of the bays, and creeks, 
and winding sea-arms of that amphibious region, 
and darted out upon occasion to shell and 
molest the Prussians in their trenches before 
the Diippcl lines. 

For the Prussians had soon come to see that 
it would be quite impossible for them to capture 
the Diippel redoubts save by regular process of 
sap and siege. The redoubts proved to be far 
more formidable than they ever fancied ; and 
it would have involved an enormous sacrifice 
of life on the part of the Prussians to rush for 
them at once. The pretty certain result of such 
impetuosity would have been that not a soul 
almost of the stormers would have lived to tell 
the tale. For three whole years the Danes had 
been at work on these redoubts, and what it 
takes three years to construct cannot by any 
possibility be captured in as many days. Much 
had to be done by the Prussians, then, before 
sitting down before the redoubts. If a simile may 
be borrowed from the game of football, the " for- 
wards " of the Danes had first to be disposed of. 
For not only did they occupy the redoubts, but 
likewise all the strong points in the country for 
two or three miles in front of them, just as 
modern ironclads hang out nets to guard their 
hulls from the impact of torpedoes. In a similar 
manner the Danes had thrown out a network of 
men to fend off all hostile approach to their 
forts and prevent the Prussians from settling 
down near enough to them for the purposes of 
sap and siege. 

While, therefore, the Prussians were busy 
bringing to the front their heavy guns and 
other siege-material, others of them were set to 
the work of sweeping clean, as with a broom of 
bayonets, the open positions in front of the 
redoubts held by their defenders. But this 
sweeping process was by no means either an 
easy or a bloodless task. For while the Danes 
numbered 22,000 troops, the " Red Prince " in 
front of them disposed at this time (though later 
he was reinforced) of no more than 16,000 men, 
and there was always the danger that the Danes, 
assuming the offensive, would sally out of their 

lines and seek to overwhelm their numerically 
weaker foes. Consequently the Prussians had 
recourse to the spade in order to supple- 
ment the defensive power of their rifles, and 
thus they first of all took up an entrenched 
position running in a long semicircle from 
Broacker on their right to Satrup on thcleft, at 
a distance of about three miles or more from the 
real object of their ambition — the line of Danish 

Two positions in front of these redoubts — the 
villages of Diippel and Rackcbiill — were fiercely 
contested by the Danes ; but on the 17th of 
March, after fighting in a manner which gave 
their foes a very high opinion of their courage, 
they retired behind their earthworks with the 
loss of 676 men, while the Prussians, on their 
part, had to pay for their victory by only 138 
lives. This disparity in loss was doubtless due 
to the fact that, while the Danes were only 
armed with the old smooth-bore muzzle-loading 
musket, the Prussians had adopted the new 
Ziindnadclgcwclir, or needle-gun, the parent of 
all modern breechloading and repeating rifles^ 
which gave them a tremendous advantage over 
their opponents. In one of the preliminary 
encounters above referred to, a party of Danes, 
against whom a superior force of Prussian light- 
infantry (Jiigcr) was advancing, threw down 
their arms in token of submission ; but as the 
Prussians came forward, they snatched them up 
again, fired a volley, and rushed on with the 
bayonet. The Prussians let them come to 
within twenty -yards' distance, and then, raising 
their deadly needle-guns, shot them down to a 
man. The treacherous conduct of the Danes 
above referred to caused great bitterness among 
the Prussians ; but, even after death, the latter 
showed their foes the respect which brave men 
owe to one another, and in West Diippel they 
raised a cross with this inscription : — " Here lie 
twenty-five brave Danes, who died the hero's 
death, 17th February, 1864." 

The result of these preliminary tussles was 
that the Danes attempted no more outfalls, and 
from the 17th to the 28th of March one might 
almost have concluded that an armistice had 
been agreed to but for an occasional sputtering 
and spitting of rifle-fire between the foreposts, 
who thus employed their time when not ex- 
changing other courtesies in the form of pipe- 
lights, tobacco-pouches, and spirit-flasks. But 
now the time was come when it behoved the 
Prussians to get as close to the redoubts as 
possible, for the purpose of opening their siege- 



trenches, and General von Raven's Brigade was 
selected to sweep the ground in front of the 
Danish position of ail its outposts. It was an 
early Easter this year, and just when the 
preachers were proclaiming to their congrega- 
tions that the season of peace and goodwill to 
all men had now again come round, the Danes 
and Prussians were fighting like fiends under 
cover of the darkness. 

The 1 8th Prussian Fusiliers had crept forward 
as far nearly as the wire-fencing and palisades 
in front of the redoubts, when the dawn sud- 
denly revealed them to the Danes ; and just at 
this moment, too, what should appear upon the 
scene but the ubiquitous Rolf Krakc^ which, at 
a distance of about 
five hundred yards, 
opened upon the ad- 
vancing Prussians 
such a shower of shell 
and grape-shot as 
forced them to retire, 
causing these baffled 
fusiliers to curse the 
very name of the 
ship-builder who had 
ever laid the keel of 
such a bold and 
bothersome vessel. 

At length, during 
the night of the 30th 
March, the Prussians 

managed to open their first parallel at a 
distance of about eight hundred paces from 
the line of the redoubts, and now, so to 
speak, they had reached the beginning of the 
end. The men on duty in this parallel, or 
shelter-trench (about eight feet deep), were re- 
lieved at first every forty-eight hours, and then 
every twenty-four, the former period having 
been found to be too great a strain on the 
soldiers, who, in consequence, had soon as many 
as ten per cent, on the sick list. For nothing 
could have been more trying to the constitution 
than this trench-life, with its cold nights, and 
rain, and mud, and manifold wretchedness. 

Yet the Prussian soldiers, who were all very 
young fellows — mere boys some of them — kept up 
their spirits in the most wonderful manner, and 
indulged in all kinds of fun — mountmg a gas-pipe 
on a couple of cart-wheels, and thus drawing 
the fire of the Danes, who imagined it to be a 
cannon ; making sentries out of clay, and other- 
wise indulging in the thousand-and-one humours 
of a camp. They were also cheered by frequent 

visits from their commander, the " Red Prince," 
who — although housed in most comfortable, not 
to say luxurious, quarters at the Schloss, or 
chateau, of Gravenstein, about six miles to the 
rear — failed not to ride to the front every day 
and acquaint himself with all that was going on. 
With such a commander soldiers will do any- 
thing, and hence the whole Prussian force in 
front of the Danish redoubts began to burn with 
a fighting ardour which neither cold, nor wet, 
nor knee-deep mud could in the least degree 
damp or depress. 

On the other hand, the Danes, though better 
off for shelter in their block-houses, wooden 
barracks, and casemates, were not in such good 

spirits. One of the 
few things, appa- 
rently, that cheered 
their hearts was the 
sight of the numerous 
English tourists— 
" T. G's," or " travel- 
ling gents," as they 
used to be called in the 
Crimea, and Kricgs- 
bummlcr^ or war- 
loafers, as they are 
dubbed in Germany 
— who, arrayed in 
suits of a most fearful 
and wonderful make, 
streamed over to the 
Cimbrian Peninsula in quest of sensation and 
adventure, exposing themselves on parapet and 
sky-line to the shells of the Prussians with a 
devil-me-care coolness which proved a source 
of new inspiration to the Danskes. 

Simultaneously with the pushing on of their 
parallel work, the Prussians kept up a tremen- 
dous fire on the forts, but the Danes showed 
their good sense by lying quietly in their case- 
mates and scarcely noticing the storm of 
missiles directed against them. These missiles 
did them and their earthworks very little harm, 
and they were not to be terrified by mere noise. 
Before the Prussians had settled down to their 
trench-work, their batteries over the bay at 
Gammelmark firing day and night had in the 
course of a fortnight thrown about 7,500 shot 
and shell into the Danish redoubts, yet not 
more than seventy-five officers and men had 
been killed or disabled by all this roaring 
volcano of heavy guns ; and, indeed, it was 
computed about this time that the Prussians 
were purchasing the lives of their enemies at 



about 500 cannon-shots per head. " The huge 
earthen mounds or humps (of forts)," wrote a 
correspondent, " might have marked the graves 


of an extinct race, or been the result of some 
gigantic mole's obscure toil," for all the signs of 
life which the Prussian bombardment drew from 
the redoubts. 

One night a curious thing happened to a 
company of the 60th Prussian regiment. In 
the course of some skirmishing it got too far 
forward, and, when day broke, it found itself in 
a slight hollow of the ground so near to Forts 
I and 2 that, had it tried to return to its own 
lines, it must have been annihilated by the 
grape-shot of the Danes. The shelter afforded 
it by the nature of the ground was so trifling 
that the men were forced to lie down flat upon 
their bellies to avoid being shot. In this un- 
pleasant position the}- lav the whole day, for the 
Danes, strange to say, did not seek to sally out 
and capture them ; and it was not till late in 
the evening that the company, under cover of 
the darkness, was able to rejoin their friends. 
They had eaten nothing in the interval, for, 
though they had provisions in their pockets, or 
haversacks, the least movement they made to 
get at this provender exposed them to the 
enemy's fire. 

The first parallel had been opened on the 
30th of March, and the second was accomplished 
in the night of the loth ol April. It was now 

expected that the " Red Prince," without more 
ado, would make a rush for the forts and be 
done with them — the more so as there now 
began to be whisperings of a political conference 
of the Powers which might meet and baulk the 
Prussian soldier of the final reward of all his 
toil. But still Prince Frederick Charles gave 
not the signal for the assault, and then it oozed 
out that this delay was simply due to the com* 
mand of his royal uncle, King (afterward 
Kaiser) William, a very humane monarch, who, 
wishing to .spare as much as possible the blood oi 
his brave soldiers, had directed that still another 
— a third — parallel should be made, so as to 
shorten the distance across which the stormers 
would have to rush before reaching the redoubts. 
Meanwhile the Prussians prepared themselves 
for the as.sault, among other things by getting 
up sham works in imitation of those they had 
to attack, where the battalions destined for the 
purpose were practised in breaking down 
palisades and using scaling-ladders, as well as 
in disposing of chcvaux dc frise and other im- 
pediments usual in the defence of " forts. 
The Danish redoubts were known to the 
Prussians as Nos. i, 2, 3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8, 9, and lo, 
beginning from their — the Prussian — right on 
the sea, and their foremost parallel fronted this 
line of forts from i to 6. Against these forts 
the Prussians had thrown up twenty-four 
batteries mounting ninety-four guns, and now 
at last these guns were to give voice in a chorus 
such as had not rent the sk}- since the fall of 

But just as every storm is preceded b}' a 
strange delusive silence, so the day before the 
assault on the Diippel redoubts — the 17th of 
April — was a beautifully calm, sunny Sunday, 
with earth and sky embracing in a common joy 
over the birth of spring, and the encircling sea 
smooth as glass — a lovely day, and the last but 
one that man}- a brave man was doomed to see. 
For the order had gone forth from Prince 
Frederick Charles that at 10 o'clock precisely on 
the following (Monday) morning the redoubts 
should at last be stormed. At dawn of day the 
whole line of Prussian batteries should open fire 
on the forts, pouring upon them one continuous 
cataract of shot and shell till 10 o'clock, when 
the storming columns would start out of their 
trenches and "go for" the redoubts with might 
and main. 

At 2 o'clock a.m. these columns — six in 
number, drawn bv lot from the various brigades 
so that all might have an impartial share 



in the honour of the day — emerged from 
the Biiffell-Koppel wood well in the rear, and 
silently marched in the darkness to the parallels. 
Each of these six columns was thus com- 
posed : — First of all a company of infantry with 
orders to take extended front about 150 paces 
from its particular redoubt, and open fire on 
the besieged. Following these sharpshooters, 
pioneers and engineers with spades, axes, 
ladders, and all other storming gear, including 
bags of blasting powder, and after them, at 
100 paces distance, the storming calumn itself, 
followed at 150 paces by a reserve of equal 

aroused out of their sleep by such an infernal 
outburst of cannon-thunder all along their front 
as had never before, in lieu of the twittering and 
chirping of birds, greeted the advent of a 
beautiful day in spring. For six long mortal 
hours did the Prussians continue this terrific 
cannonade, of which the violence and intensity 
may be inferred from the fact that during this 
time no fewer than 11,500 shot and shell were 
hurled at and into the Danish redoubts. The 
material damage done to these redoubts was 
less, perhaps, than the demoralisation thereby 
caused to their defenders ; but the latter wa^ 


Strength, together with a score of artillerists for 
manning the captured guns of the Danes. 

■ The Danes, in the darkness of the night, 
knew nothing whatever of all these preparations, 
and it was only when the first streaks of dawn 
began to chequer the eastern sky that they were 

the result which the Prussians, perhaps, aimed 
at and valued most. 

Shortly before ten the awful cannonade sud- 
denly ceased, and was followed by a few minutes' 
painful silence. During this brief interval the 
field-preachers, who had given the Sacrament to 



all the stormers the night before, now again 
addressed to them a few fervid words of religious 
encouragement, and then at the " N'tiu, Kinder, 
in Gottcs Ndi/icn .' " (" Now, my children, away 
with you in God's name I ") of their commanders, 
the six storming columns, raising a loud and 
simultaneous cheer, dashed out of their trenches 
and across to their respective redoubts to the 
stirring music of the Pi'eusscnlicd played by the 
bands of three regiments — "/c/z bin ein Prcnssc ; 
kcnnt Ihr vicinc Fdi'he?"' ("I am a Prussian : 
know ye then mj' colours ? ") 

For a few seconds the Danes seem to be taken 
aback by this sudden onrush of their foes, and 
then they recognise that this is no mere out- 
post affair such as caused them some time before 
to boast that they had repulsed a Prussian attack 
all along their line. They look and compre- 
hend ; and by the time their Prussian assailants 
have half covered the distance between the 
trenches and the forts, their parapets are fringed 
with the smoke of sharp-crackling volleys of 
musketry, for, strange to say, thev do not use 
their guns and dose their assailants with destruc- 
tive rounds of grape. The Prussians rush for- 
ward, and many of them fall. Their pioneers 
cut down the wires, hack and blow up the 
palisades, tug, strain, and open up a passage for 
the stormers, who swarm down into the ditch 
and up the formidable face of the breastwork. 

The Crown Prince, at the side of " Papa " 
Wrangel, is looking on from the Gammelmark 
height on the opposite side of the bav, while his 
cousin, the " Red Prince," and his staff have taken 
their stand on the Spitzberg, well to the rear of 
the line of zigzags. The stormers swarm up 
the breastworks like ants, and some of them fall 
back upon the heads of their comrades mortally 
struck by Danish bullets. At last they reach 
the top of the parapets and see the whites of 
their enemies' eyes, and a short but desperate 
hand-to-hand encounter ensues. Many of the 
Danes, seeing the foe thus upon them, throw 
down their arms and surrender, but many will 
not give in, and are shot or struck down with 
bullet, ba\onet, and butt. 

At Fort 2 the Prussians cannot force their 
way through the palisades, and are consequently 
slaughtered as they stand. " Better one of us 
than ten ! " cries a pioneer, Klinke by name (for 
a monument now stands to his memor\- on the 
exact scene of his heroism), who rushes forward 
with a bag of powder and blows at once the 
palisades and his own person into atoms — sacri- 
ficing himself to save his comrades, and thus 

secure himself a golden register in the annals of 
the Prussian army. The stormers now dash on 
and up, and presently the black-and-white flag 
of Prussia is seen waving on the parapets of the 
redoubt. It sinks again, but is once more raised 
to remain, and in less than a quarter of an hour 
from the time that the stormers sprang out of 
their trenches they are masters of six redoubts. 
It was all done, so to speak, in the twinkling of 
an eye — short, sharp, and decisive. From the 
six redoubts thus so swiftly rushed, the Prussians 
made a sweep to the rear of the others, and 
captured them in much the same manner, 
though one fort spared them the necessity of 
fighting for it by surrendering. 

As it was at Fort 2 where the highest act of 
individual heroism had been performed on the 
side of the Prussians by brave pioneer Klinke, so 
it was also within this redoubt that Danish 
courage found its most brilliant exponent in the 
person of Lieutenant Anker. The Prussians 
were quite aware that a man of more than usual 
bravery was posted here, for they had admired 
the stubborn valour with which the redoubt had 
always been defended. And when at last they 
had stormed their way behind its parapets, they 
beheld the man himself whose acts had hitherto 
moved their admiration. He had spiked some 
of his guns, and was in the act of firing another 
when a Prussian officer sprang upon him, and, 
clapping a revolver to his breast, cried, " If you 
fire, I fire ! " Anker hesitated, and finally 
desisted. But just afterwards he took up a 
lighted match and was making for the powder 
magazine, when the Prussian officer cut him 
over the head with his sword, only just in time 
to prevent him from blowing up himself and 
a considerable number of his foes. He was 
then taken prisoner, and his lifelike figure may 
now be seen on the fine bronze bas-relief of the 
Storming of the Diippel Redoubts, which adorns 
the Victory Column in Berlin. 

The Danes had been defeated — not so much 
because the Prussians were braver men, which 
they were not, as because the latter were armed 
with better guns and rifles, and more expert at 
handling them ; but, above all things, because 
they had taken their foes by surprise. For it 
cannot be doubted that this was the fact. Said 
a Danish officer who was taken prisoner : 
" We waited all morning, thinking the assault 
might still be given, although we had expected 
that it would take place still sooner ; we waited 
under the terrific cannonade kept up against us, 
while hour after hour passed slowly awa3^ At 



last we said to ourselves that we must have been 
misinformed, or that the Prussians had changed 
their m.inds, and the reserves were withdrawn. 
It was past nine o'clock when I left the forts and 
went back to breakfast. While thus engaged, I 
heard somebody utter an exclamation of dismay. 
* What is that ? The Prussian flag floats over 
Fort 4 ! ' And so it was — the forts were lost." 

But there was still another and a better reason 
for concluding that the Danes had not yet 
awhile expected the Prussian assault, and that 
was the circumstance that the Rolf Krakc, most 
daring and deviceful of warships, did not im- 
mediately appear upon the scene to pour its 
volleys of shell and shrapnel into the flanks of 
the storming columns. True, it was lying at the 
entrance to the bay (Wenningbund), like an ever- 
vigilant watch-dog ; but by the time it had got 
its steam up and come to where it was most 
wanted, the Prussians were already within the 
Danish redoubts, and, after firing a few ineffec- 
tual rounds, the monitor had to retire again 
well battered with Prussian cannon-balls, but 
by no means beaten yet like the battalions 
which had held the forts. 

Yet even these battalions, when beaten out of 
the redoubts, continued to cling tenaciously to 
the ground behind them, and once or twice they 
even made a counter-attack with the object of 
recovering their lost positions. But Prussian 
ardour proved too much for Danish obstinacy ; 
and at last the Danes in the country behind the 
forts, after several hours' fighting, were all swept 
back to the bridge-head in their rear, and then 
over into the island of Alsen, leaving their foes 
undisputed masters of all the field. 

This latter phase of the fight was well described 
by a correspondent with the Danes, who wrote : 
— '' Diippel was lost, but the battle was by no 
means at an end. Indeed, as we watched the 
terrible cannonade from 12 at noon till 3 or 
4 p.m., the violence of the fire seemed to 
increase at every moment. An^•thing more 
sublime than that sight and sound no effort 
■of imagination can conjure up, and we stood 
spellbound, entranced, rooted to the spot, in a 
state that partook of wild excitement and 
dumb amazement — a state of being which spread 
equallv to the dull hinds, ploughmen, woodmen, 
and the foresters, and their families of wives and 
children, as they emerged from fields, woods, and 
huts, and clustered in awestruck, dumbfounded 
groups around us. The flashes of the heavy 
artillery outsped the rapidity of the glance that 
strove to watch them ; the reports were far 

more frequent than the pulsations in our 
arteries, and the reverberation of the thunder 
throughout the vast spreading forest lengthened 
out and perpetuated the roar with a solemn 
cadence that was the grandest of all music to the 
dullest ear. The air seemed all alive with these 
angry shells. I have witnessed fearful thunder- 
storms in my day in southern and in tropical 
climates ; but here the crash and rattle of all 
the tempests that ever were seemed to be 
summed up in the tornado of an hour. Nor 
was all that noise by any means deafening or 
stunning. It came to us lingering far and wide 
in the still air, softened and mellowed by the 
vastness of space, every note blending admirably 
and harmonising with the general concert — the 
greatest treat that the most consummate pyro- 
technic art could possibly contrive for the delight 
of the eye and ear." 

Many of the Danes surrendered, but many more 
were taken prisoners ; and as they came along 
the Prussian soldiers shook them good-naturedly 
by the hand and tried to cheer them up. Few 
of the men seemed to want cheering up, being 
only too glad, apparently, to have escaped with 
their lives, though their officers looked gloomy 
enough over their defeat. The Prussians found 
these captive Danes " sturdy fellows, but by no 
means soldierly-looking," with their "rich sandy 
hair reaching far below the nape of their necks." 
And, to tell the truth, their victors, no less than 
their admirers throughout Europe, expected that 
they would have made a far more vigorous 
defence ; for desperate a defence could scarcely 
have been called which resulted in the capture 
of their chief redoubts within the brief space of 
about ten minutes. 

The Prussians had won a glorious victory, but 
a dear one ; for in dead they had lost 16 officers 
and 213 men, and in wounded 54 officers and 
1,118 men. Among the officers who were 
uounded — mortally, as afterwards proved — was 
the brave General von Raven, who, as he was 
being borne to the rear, exclaimed : " It is high 
time that a Prussian General should again show 
how to die for his King." On the other side 
General du Plat was also killed, while in dead 
and wounded officers and men and prisoners the 
Danish loss otherwise amounted to about 5,500. 
Among the trophies of victory which fell into 
the hands of the Prussians were 118 guns and 
40 colours. 

On being informed of all this. King 
William telegraphed from Berlin — '' To Prince 
Frederick Charles. Next to the Lord of Hosts. 



I have to thank my splendid army under th}- 
leadership for to-day's glorious victory. Pray 
convey to the troops the expression of my highest 
acknowledgment and m)- kingly thanks for 
what they have done." On seeing that victory 
was his, the " Red Prince " had bared his head and 
muttered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord 
of Hosts, while some massed bands played a kind 

Prince Frederick Charles, his acknowledgment 
of their bravery. Following hard on his telegram 
his Majesty himself hurried to the seat of war, 
with his '* blood-and-iron " Minister, Bismarck, 
at his side, and passed in review the troops who 
had so stoutly stormed the redoubts of the 
Danes. These troops appeared on parade in the 
dress and equipment they had worn on the day of 


of Tc Dcum. " In the broad ditch to the rear 
of Fort No. 4," wrote Dr. Russell, " the bands of 
four regiments had established themselves, and 
while the cannon were firing close behind them, 
they played a chorale, or song of thanksgiving, 
for the day's success. The effect was striking, 
and the grouping of the troops and of the 
musicians, with their smart uniforms and bright 
instruments, standing in the deep trench against 
the shell-battered earthwork, and by palisades 
riven and shattered and shivered by shot, was 
most picturesque.'' 

But King WilUam was not content with tele- 
graphincr to his troops, through his nephew 

their great feat, and in the course of their march 
past jumped a broad drain to show his Majesty 
hownimbly they had stormed in upon the Danes. 
A fortnight later a select number of the Diippel 
stormers escorted into Berlin the guns — more 
than a hundred in number — which they had 
captured from the Danes, and were received with 
tremendous enthusiasm. 

But this popular jubilation grew louder 
still when a few weeks later the war was 
ended altogether by the storming of the island 
of Alsen, into which the Danes had retired 
after their defeat at Diippel and entrenched 
themselves down to the water's edge. In the 



deep darkness of a summer night (June 2qth) 
the Prussians, in i6o boats, crossed the channel — • 
about eight hundred yards broad — between the 
mainland and the island, though not without the 
usual amount of harassing opposition from the 
Rolf Krake^ and under a murderous fire jumped 
ashore and made themselves master of the 

position in a manner which made some observers 
describe the affair as a mere " skirmish and a 

But all the same it was a feat which recalled 
the '' Island of the Scots,'' as sung by Ayton, 
and will always live in military history as a 
splendid feat of arms. 






O::^ --Q- 

O ''>'^ 


•o^- ■■■■c>- 




no A FORBES ^1^ 


aVS:.dS:.- :( !3.n-.:0:c-): 

'<;>'■ O 

THE Afghan War of 1878-79 was ter- 
minated by the completion of what is 
known as the "Treaty of Gundamuk," 
which was signed at that place in 
Ala3% 1879, bv Yakoub Khan — who, on the flight 
of his father, Shere Ali, had succeeded that ill- 
starred potentate as Ameer of Afghanistan — and 
by Major (afterwards Sir Louis) Cavagnari, re- 
presenting Lord Lytton, the Viceroy of India. 
This treaty gave practical — although, as it turned 
out, only temporary — effect to the " scientific 
frontier " of North-Western Lidia, on the 
attainment of which the late Lord Beaconsfield, 
when Prime Minister, greatly plumed him- 
self. The " scientific frontier " detached from 
Afghanistan and annexed to British India for 
the time being a large tract of territory. The 
Treaty of Gundamuk stipulated that a British 
envoy should thenceforth be resident in the 
Afghan capital ; and to the onerous and dan- 
gerous post, at his own request, was assigned 
the resolute and cool-headed officer to whose 
wise and calm strength of will was mainly owing 
the accomplishment of the treaty. Sir Louis 
Cavagnari took with him to Cabul a subordinate 
Civil Servant, a surgeon, and a small escort of 
the famous " Guides," commanded by the 
gallant Hamilton. 

On the night of September 4th, 1879, a weary 
trooper of the Guides — one of the few who had 
escaped the slaughter — rode into a British out- 
post on the Shutargurdan height, with the 
startling tidings that Sir Louis Cavagnari, the 
members of his mission and the soldiers of his 
escort, had been massacred in the Balla Hissar 
of Cabul on the 3rd. The news reached Simla 
by telegraph on the morning of the 5th, and 
next day Sir Frederick Roberts, accompanied b}' 
Colonel Charles Macgregor, C.B., was speeding 
with relentless haste to the Kurum valley, the 

force remaining in which ft^om the previous cam- 
paign was to constitute the nucleus of the little 
army of invasion and retribution, to the command 
of which Roberts was appointed. In less than a 
month he had crossed the Shutargurdan, and 
temporarily cutting loose from his base in the 
Kurum valley, was marching swiftly on Cabul, 
whence the Ameer Yakoub Khan had fled and 
thrown himself on Roberts' protection. 

All told, the army which Roberts led on Cabul 
was the reverse of a mighty host. Its entire 
strength was little greater than that of a Prussian 
brigade on a war -footing. Its fate was in its own 
hands, for, befall it what might, it could hope 
for no timely reinforcement. It was a mere de- 
tachment marching against a nation of fighting- 
men plentifully supplied with artillery, no longer 
shooting laboriously with jizails, but carrying 
arms of precision equal or little inferior to those' 
in the hands of our own soldiery. But the men 
of Roberts' command, Europeans and Easterns, 
hillmen of Scotland and hillmen of Nepaul, 
plainmen of Hampshire and plainmen of the 
Punjaub, strode along buoyant with confi- 
dence and with health, believing in their 
leader, in their discipline, in themselves. Of 
varied race, no soldier who followed Roberts 
but came of fighting stock ; ever blithely rejoic- 
ing in the combat, one and all burned for the 
strife now before them with more than wonted 
ardour, because of the opportunity it promised 
to exact vengeance for a deed of foul treachery. 
Roberts' colunm of invasion consisted of a cavalry 
brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Dun- 
ham Massy, and of two infantry brigades, the 
first commanded by- Brigadier-General Macpher- 
son, the second by Brigadier-General Baker, with 
three batteries of artillery, a company of sappers 
and miners, and two Gatling guns. 

The soldiers had not long to wait for the first 


fight of the campaign. At dawn, of October 6th, 
Baker marched out from Charasiah towards his 
left front, against the heights held by an Afghan 
host in great strength and regular formation. 
Sweeping back the Afghan hordes with hard 
fighting, Baker wheeled to his right, marched 
along the lofty crest, rolling up and driving 
before him the Afghan defence as he moved 
towards the Sung-i-Nagusta gorge, which the 
gallant Major White* had already entered. While 
Baker had been turning the Afghan right, White 
and his little force had been distinguishing them- 
selves not a little. After an artillery preparation, 
the detached hill covering the mouth of the pass 
had been won as the result of a hand-to-hand 
struggle. Later had fallen into the hands of 
White's people all the Afghan guns, the heights 
to the immediate right and left of the gorge had 
been carried, the defenders driven away, and 
the pass opened up. Artillery fire crushed the 
defence of a strong fort commanding the road 
through the pass. The Afghans were routed, 
and on the following day the whole division 
passed the defile and camped within sight of the 
Balla Hissar, and the lofty mountain chain over- 
hanging Cabul. In the fight of Charasiah less 
than half of Roberts' force had been engaged, 
and this mere brigade had routed the army of 
Cabul and captured the whole of the artillery 
the latter had brought into the field. Tne Afghan 
loss was estimated at about three hundred ; the 
British loss was twenty killed and sixty-seven 

On the qth the camp 
the Siah Sung heights, 
the Balla Hissar (the 
Cabul), to dominate which a regiment was de- 
tached ; and a cavalry regiment occupied the 
Sherpur cantonment, the great magazine of 
which had been blown up, and whence the 
regiments which had been quartered in the 
cantonment had fled. 

It was a melancholv visit which Sir Frederick 
Roberts made to the Balla Hissar on the nth. 
Through the dirt and squalor of the lower 
portion, he ascended the narrow lane leading to 
the ruin which a few weeks earlier had been the 
British Residency. The commander of the 
avenging armv looked with sorrowful eyes on 
the scene of heroism and slaughter, on the smoke- 
blackened ruins, the blood-splashes on the white- 
washed walls, the still smouldering debris, the 
half-burned skulls and bones in the blood-dabbled 
chamber where apparently the final struggle had 
* Now Sir George White, Commander-in-Chief in India. 

was moved forward to 

a mile eastward from 

palace and citadel of 

been fought out. He stood in the breach in the 
quarters of the staunch and faithful Guides, where 
the gate had been blown in after the last of the 
sorties made by the gallant Hamilton, and lin- 
gered in the tattered wreck of poor Cavagnari's 
drawing-room, its walls dinted with bullet-pits, 
its floor and divans brutally defiled. Ne.\t day, 
under the flagstaff from which waved the banner 
of Britain, he held a durbar in the audience 
chamber of the palace — in front and in flank 
of him the pushing throng of obsequious sirdars, 
arrayed in all the colours of the rainbow ; behind 
them, standing immobile at attention, the guard 
of British infantry, with fixed bayonets which 
the soldiers longed to use. 

Promptitude of advance on the part of the 
force to which had been assigned the supporting 
line of invasion by the Khyber-Jellalabad route 
was of scarcely less moment than the rapidity of 
the stroke which Roberts was commissioned to 
deliver. But delay on delay marked the mobilisa- 
tion and advance of the troops operating by the 
Khyber line. There was no lack of earnestness 
anywhere, but the barren hills and rugged passes 
could furnish no supplies ; the country in rear 
had to furnish everything, and there was nothing 
at the base of operations, neither any accumula- 
tion of supplies nor means to transport supplies 
if they had been accumulated. Communications 
were opened from Cabul with the Khyber force 
and India, it was true, but no reinforcement 
came to Roberts from that force until the nth 
December, when there arrived the Guides, 900 
strong, brought up by Jenkins from Jugdulluck 
by forced marches. Five weeks earlier, when 
the Kurum line of communication was closed 
for the winter, Roberts had received the welcome 
accession of a wing of the 9th Lancers, Money's 
Sikh regiment, and four mountain guns : his 
strength was thus increased to about 7,000 men. 
For some weeks after Roberts' arrival at Cabul, 
almost perfect quiet prevailed in and around the 
Afghan capital, but the chief was well aware 
how precarious and deceitful was the calm. 
When the impending announcement of Yakoub 
Khan's dethronement and deportation should 
be made, Roberts knew the Afghan nature too 
well to doubt that the tribal blood-feuds would 
be soldered for the time, that Dooranee and 
Baraksai would strike hands, that Afghan 
regulars and Afghan irregulars would rally 
under the same standards, and that the fierce 
shouts of " Deen ! deen ! " would resound 
on hill-top and in plain. He was read}' for 
the strife, and would not hesitate to strike quick 



and hard, for Roberts knew the value of a resolute 
and vigorous offensive in dealing with Afghans. 
But it behoved him, above all things, to make 
timely choice of his winter-quarters where he 
should collect his supplies and house his troops 
and their followers. After careful deliberation 

Charasiah. The northern contingent from the 
Kohistan and Kohdaman was to occupy the 
Asmai heights north-west of the city, while the 
troops from the Maidan and Warduk territory 
away to the south-westward of the capital, led 
by Mahomed Jan in person, should come in by 


the Sherpur cantonment, a mile outside of 
Cabul, was selected. It was overlarge for easy 
defence, but hard work, skilled engineering, and 
steadfast courage would remedy that evil. And 
Sherpur had a great advantage in that, besides 
being in a measure a readv-made defensive posi- 
tion, it had shelter for all the troops and would 
accommodate also the horses of the cavalry, the 
transport animals, and all the needful supplies 
and stores. 

The deportation to India of Yakoub Khan 
and his three principal ministers was the signal 
for a general rising. The Peter the Hermit of 
Afghanistan in 1879 ^^'^^ ^^e old Mushk-i-Alum, 
the fanatic chief moulla (or priest) of Ghuznee, 
who went to and fro among the tribes pro- 
claiming the sacred duty of a religious war 
against the unbelieving invaders. The com- 
bination of fighting tribes found a competent 
leader in Mahomed Jan, a Warduk general of 
proved courage and capacity. The plan of cam- 
paign was comprehensive and well devised. A 
contingent from the Logur country south of 
Cabul was to seize the Sher Darwaza heights, 
stretching southward from Cabul tou^ard 

Urgundeh across the Chardeh Valley, take pos- 
session of Cabul, and rally to their banners the 
disaffected population of the city and the sur- 
rounding villages. The concentration of the 
three bodies effected, Cabul and the ridge against 
which it leans occupied, the next step was to 
be the investment of the Sherpur cantonment, 
preparatory to an assault in force upon that 

The British general, through his spies, had 
information of those projects. To allow the 
projected concentration would be fraught with 
mischief, and both experience and temperament 
enjoined in Roberts a prompt initiative. He 
resolved, in the first instance, to deal with 
Mahomed Jan's force, which was reckoned some 
5,000 strong ; the other contingents might be 
disregarded for the moment. On the 8th of 
December Baker marched out with a force con- 
sisting of qoo infantry, two and a half squadrons, 
and four guns, with instructions to break up the 
tribal assemblage in the Logur valley, march 
thence south-westward, and take a position 
across the Ghuznee road in the Maidan valley, 
on the line of retreat which it was hoped that 



Macpherson would succeed in enforcing on 
Mahomed Jan. Macpherson was to move west- 
ward with 1,300 bayonets, three squadrons, and 
eight guns, across the Chardeh valley to Ur- 
gurdeh, where it was expected that he would 
find Mahomed Jan's levies, which he was to 
attack and drive southward to Maidan upon 
Baker. Should this combination come off, the 
Afghan leader would find himself, it was hoped, 
between the upper and the lower millstone, and 
would be punished so severely as to hinder him 
from giving further trouble. 

It happened, however, as Macpherson was 
about starting on the 9th, that a cavalry recon- 

the previously arranged combined movement 
and bringing about a very critical situation. 
After a sharp fight Macpherson routed the 
Kohistanees, and halted on the ground for the 
night. In the hope that the combination might 
still be effected, he was ordered to march south- 
west toward Urgundeh.on the morning of the 
I ith, where it was hoped he would find Mahomed 
Jan and drive him towards Baker. Macpherson 
had left his cavalry and wheeled guns at Aushar 
on the eastern edge of the Chardeh valley ; and 
he was informed that they would leave that place 
at q a.m. of the same day, under the command 
of Brigadier-General Massy, and move across 

HK HELD A DUKUAR " (/. 235). 

naissance found the Kohistanee levies in con- 
siderable strength about Karez Meer, some ten 
miles north-west of Cabul. It was imperative 
promptly to disperse them, and Macpherson, on 
the loth, had to alter his line of advance and 
move against the Kohistanees, a divergence from 
the original plan which had the effect of wrecking 

the valley in the direction of Urgundeh, where 
Macpherson, it was expected, would re-unite 
himself with them. Massy's orders were to 
proceed cautiously to join Macpherson, but " on 
no account to commit himself to an action until 
the latter had engaged the enemy." 

Macpherson marched from Karez Meer at 



eight a.m. of the nth. Massy left Aushar an 
hour later, and went across country instead of 
keeping to the road. His force consisted of two 
squadrons 9th Lancers, a troop of Bengal Lancers, 
and four horse artillery guns. Near Killa Kazee 
his advance guard sent back word that the hills. 
in front were occupied by the enemy in consider- 
able force. Massy halted when he saw some 2,000 
Afghans forming across the road, and from the 
hills to right and left broad streams of armed 
men pouring down the slopes and massing in the 
plain. The surprise was complete, the situation 
full of perplexity. There was no Macpherson 
within ken of Massy. If he retired, he probably 
would be rushed. If, on the other hand, he 
should show a bold front, and, departing from 
his orders in the urgent crisis face to face with 
which he found himself, should strain every 
nerve to "hold" the Afghan masses in their 
present position, there was the possibility that 
he might save the situation and give time for 
Macpherson to come up. Massy, for better or 
for worse, committed himself to the offensive, 
and opened fire on the Afghan masses. But 
they were not daunted, and the guns had 
again and again to be retired. The outlook was 
ominous when Roberts arrived on the scene. 
He acted promptly, as was his wont, directing 
Massy to retire till he found an opportunity to 
charge ; he sent General Hills back to Sherpur 
to warn its garrison to be on the alert, and to 
order the despatch at speed of a wing of the 
72nd Highlanders to the village of Deh Mazung 
in the throat of the gorge of the Cabul river, 
which the Highlanders were to hold to extremity. 
The moment seemed to have come for the 
action of the cavalry. Colonel Cleland led his 
lancers straight for the centre of the Afghan 
line. Captain Gough, away on the Afghan left, 
eagerly "conformed," crushing in on the enemy's 
flank at the head of his troop. There have been 
few forlorner hopes than the errand on which, 
on this ill-starred day, over 200 troopers rode into 
the heart of 10,000 Afghans flushed with un- 
wonted good fortune. Through the dust-cloud 
of the charge were visible the flashes ot the 
Afghan volleys and the sheen of the British 
lance-heads as they came down to the " engage." 
There was a short interval of suspense, the din 
of the melee faintly heard, but invisible behind 
the bank of smoke and dust. Then from out 
the obscurity of the battle riderless horses came 
galloping back, followed slowly by broken groups 
of dismounted troopers. Gallantly led home, 
the charge had failed. What other could have 

been the result ? Sixteen troopers had been 
slain, seven were wounded ; two brave }'oung 
officers lay dead where they fell. Cleland came 
out with a sword cut and a bullet wound, which 
latter gave him his death a few months later. 
The Afghans pressed on. A gun had to be 
spiked and abandoned, its officer. Lieutenant 
Hardy, remaining by it until killed ; three 
other guns stuck fast in a watercourse. All four 
were gallantly recovered by Colonel Macgregor 
the same afternoon by a most skilful and daring 
effort, which only he would have ventured upon. 
The retreat was stubborn and orderly ; but there 
was an anxious interval at Deh Mazung until 
the Highlanders came through the gorge at the 
double ; when, after a short interval of firing, 
the Afghans climbed the slopes of the Sher 
Derwasa heights, and occupied the summit of 
the Tahkt-i-Shah. Macpherson, marching in, 
struck and broke the Afghan rear. On the 12th, 
Baker fought his steadfast way back to Sherpur. 
The casualties of the nth were not light — thirty 
men killed and forty-four wounded. The Afghans 
were naturally elated by the success they had 
achieved, and it was clear that Mahomed Jan 
had a quick eye for opportunities and some skill 
in handling men. 

From the Sher Derwasa heights Macpherson, 
with barely 600 men, attempted, on the morning 
of the 1 2th, to carry the rocky summit of the 
Tahkt-i-Shah, but after a prolonged and bitter 
struggle it had to be recognised that the direct 
attack by so weak a force, unaided by a diver- 
sion, could not succeed. Macpherson remained 
on the ground he had actually won, informed 
that on the following morning he was to expect 
Baker's co-operation fi'om the south. The 
casualties of the abortive attempt included three 
officers, one of whom — Major C^ok, V.C., of the 
Goorkhas, than whom the British army con- 
tained no better soldier — died of his wounds. 

The lesson of the result of attempting impos- 
sibilities had been taken to heart, and the force 
which Baker led out on the morning of the 13th 
was exceptionally strong, consisting as it did of 
the q2nd Highlanders and the Guides infantry, 
a wing of the 3rd Sikhs, a cavalry regiment, and 
eight guns. Marching in the direction of the 
lateral spur stretching out from the main ridge 
eastward towards Beni Hissar, Baker observed 
that large masses of the enemy were quitting 
the plain villages in which they had been 
spending the winter night, and were hurrying 
upward to gain and hold the summit of the 
spur, which constituted the main defensive 



position of the Afghan reserve. His oppor- 
tunity flashed upon the ready-witted Baker. 
By gaining the centre of the spur he would cut 
in two the Afghan mass, holding its continuous 
summit, and so isolate and neutralise the portion 
of that mass in position from the centre of the 
spur to its eastern extremity. To eflFect this 
stroke it was, however, necessary that he should 
act with promptitude and energy. His guns 
opened a hot fire on the Afghan bodies holding 
the crest of the spur. His Sikhs, extended 
athwart the plain, protected his right flank ; his 
cavalry on the left cut into the groups of Afghans 
hastening to ascend the eastern extremity of the 
spur. With noble emulation the Highlanders 
and the Guides sprang up the rugged slope, 
their faces set towards the centre of the summit 
line. Major White, who had already earned 
many laurels in the campaign, led on the 92nd ; 
the Guides, burning to make the most of their 
first opportunity to distinguish themselves, 
followed eagerly the gallant Jenkins, the chief 
who had so often led them to victory on other 
fields. Lieutenant Forbes, a young officer of 
the 92nd, heading the advance of his regiment, 
reached the summit accompanied only by his 
colour-sergeant. A band of Ghazees rushed on 
the pair, and the sergeant fell dead. As Forbes 
stood covering the body, he was overpowered 
and slain. The sudden and bloody catastrophe 
staggered for a moment the soldiers following 
their officer, but Lieutenant Dick Cunyngham 
rallied them immediately and led them forward 
at speed. For his conduct on this occasion 
Cunyngham worthily received the Victoria 

With rolling volleys the Highlanders and the 
Guides reached and won the rocky summit. 
The Afghans momentarily defended the posi- 
tion, but the British fire swept them away, and 
the bayonets disposed of the Ghazees, who fought 
and died under their standards. The severance 
of the Afghan line was now complete. A 
detachment was left to maintain the isolation of 
some 2, coo of the enemy who had been cut off ; 
and then swinging to their right with a cheer 
Baker's regiments swept along the spur towards 
the main ridge and the Takht-i-Shah. As they 
rushed forward they rolled up the Afghan line, 
and the enemy fled in panic flight. Assailed 
from' both sides, for Macpherson's men were 
climbing the north side of the peak, and shaken 
by the fire of the mountain guns, the garrison 
of the Takht-i-Shah evacuated the position. 
Baker's soldiers toiled vigorously upward towards 

the peak, keen for the honour of winning it ; 
but that honour justly fell to their comrades of 
Macpherson's command, who had striven so 
valiantly to earn it on the previous afternoon, 
and who had gained possession of the peak and 
the standards left flying on its summit a few 
minutes in advance of the arrival of White's 
Highlanders and Jenkins' Guides. As the mid- 
day gun was fired in the Sherpur cantonment, 
the flash of the heliograph from the peak told 
that the Takht-i-Shah was won. 

While the fight was proceeding on the moun- 
tain summits, another was being fought on the 
Siah Sung upland springing out of the plain, 
within artillery range of Sherpur. On this 
elevation had gathered masses of Afghans from 
the turbulent city and from the villages about 
Beni Hissar, with intent to hinder Baker's return 
march. The Sherpur guns shelled them, but 
they held their ground, and the cavalry galloped 
out from the cantonment to disperse them. 
The Afghans showed unwonted resolution ; but 
the British horsemen were not to be denied. 
Captains Butson and Chisholme led their 
squadrons against the Afghan flanks, and the 
troopers of the 9th Lancers swept their fierce 
way through and through the hostile masses. 
But in the charge Butson was killed, and Chis- 
holme and Trower were wounded ; the sergeant- 
major and three men were killed, and seven men 
were wounded. Brilliant charges were delivered 
by the other cavalry detachments, and the Siah 
Sung heights were ultimately cleared. The 
Guides' cavalry attacked, defeated, and pursued 
for a long distance a body of Kohi.-^tanees 
marching north apparently with intent to join 
Mahomed Jan. The casualties of the day were 
sixteen killed and forty-five wounded — not a 
heavy loss, considering the amount of hard 
righting. The Afghans were estimated to have 
lost in killed alone from 200 to 300 men. 

The operations of the 13th were successful so 
far as they went, but the actual results attained 
scarcely warranted the belief that the Afghans 
had suffered so severely that they would now 
break up their combination and disperse to their 
homes. The General, indeed, was under the 
belief that the enemy had been " foiled in their 
western and southern operations." But the 
morning of the 14th eff'ectually dispelled the 
optimistic anticipations indulged in overnight. 
At daybreak large bodies of Afghans, with many 
standards, were discerned on a hill about a mile 
northward of the Asmai heights, from which 
hill and from the Kohistan road they were 



moving on to the Asmai crest. They were 
presently joined there by several thousands 
climbing the steep slopes rising from the village 
of Deh Afghan, the northern suburb of Cabul. 
It was estimated that about 8,000 men were in 
position on the Asmai heights, and occupying 
also a low conical hill beyond their north-western 
termination. The array of Afghans displayed 
itself within a mile of the west face of the Sherpur 
cantonment, and formed a menace that could not 
be brooked. To General Baker was entrusted 
the task of dislodging the enemy from the 
threatening position, with a force consisting of 

up to the Afghan breastworks, on the northern 
edge of the summit. The British shrapnel fire 
had driven many of its defenders to seek shelter 
down in Deh Afghan ; but the Ghazees in the 
breastworks fought desperately, and died under 
their standards as the Highlanders carried the 
defences with a rush. The crest — about a quarter 
of a mile long — was traversed under heavy fire, 
and the southern breastwork on the Asmai peak 
was approached. It was strong, and strongly 
held ; but a cross-fire was brought to bear on its 
garrison, and then the frontal attack, led gal- 
lantly by Corporal Sellar of the 72nd, was 



^ :s;»^-?«-> 

about 1,200 bavonets, eight guns, and a regi- 
ment of native cavalrv. Baker's first object was 
to gain possession of the conical hill already 
mentioned, and thus debar the Afghan bodies 
on the Asmai heights from receiving accessions 
either from the hill further north or bv the 
Kohistan road. Under cover of the artillery 
fire, the Highlanders and Guides occupied the 
conical hill after a short conflict. A detachment 
of all arms was left to hold it, and Colonel 
Jenkins, who commanded the attack, set about 
the arduous task of storming from the northward 
the formidable position of the Asmai heights. 
The assault was led b}- Brownlow's brave High- 
landers of the 72nd, supported on their right by 
the Guides operating on the enemy's flank, and 
the Afghan position was heavily shelled from 
the plain and the cantonment. 

In the face of a heavy fire the Highlanders 
and Guides climbed the rugged hillside leadiner 

delivered. After a hand-to-hand grapple, in 
which Highlanders and Guides were freely cut 
and slashed by the Ghazees, the position, which 
was full of dead, was carried, but with consider- 
able loss. The Afghans streamed down from the 
heights, torn as they descended by shell-fire and 
musketry - fire : when they took refuge in Deh 
Afghan that place was heavily shelled. The 
whole summit of the Asmai heights was now in 
British possession, and it seemed for the moment 
that a decisive victory had been won. 

But scarcely had Jenkins found himself in full 
possession of the Asmai position, when the for- 
tune of the da}' was suddenly overcast. A great 
host of Afghans, estimated to number from 15,000 
to 20,000, had debouched from the direction of 
Indiki into the Chardeh valley, and was moving 
swiftly northward with the apparent object of 
forming a junction with the masses occupying 
the hills to the north-west of the Asmai heights. 

I ! ■ I llai j i i B jiuw 






Cavalry scouts galloping from the Gliardch valley 
brought in the tidings that large bodies of hostile 
infantry and cavalry were hurrying across the 
valle\- in the direction of the conical hill, which 
was being held bv Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, with 
only 1 20 Highlanders and Guides. Baker, re- 
cognising Clark's weakness, reinforced that officer 
with four mountain guns and 100 bayonets — a 
reinforcement which proved inadequate. The 
guns, indeed, opened fire on the Afghan bodies 
crossing the valley and drove them out of range ; 
but these bodies coalesced dexterously with the 
host advancing from Indiki, and then the great 
Afghan mass, sud- 
denly facing to the 
right, ritruck the 
whole range of the 
British position, 
stretching from near 
the Cabul gorge on 
the south to and be- 
)-ond the conical hill 
on the north. The 
most vulnerable point 
was about that emi- 
nence. Baker sent 
Clark a second re- 
inforcement, and 200 
Sikhs doubled out 
from Sherpur to 
further strengthen 
him. But the Af- 
ghans, swarming up 
from out the Char- 
deh valley, had the 
shorter distance to 

travel, and were beforehand with the hurry- 
ing reinforcements. As the Afghan front and 
flank attacks developed themselves, they en- 
countered from the garrison of the conical 
hill a heavy rifle fire, and shells at short range 
tore through the loose rush of Ghazees ; 
but the bhang- maddened fanatics sped on 
and up without wavering. As they gathered 
behind a mound for the final onslaught, Captain 
Spens with a handful of his Highlanders, 
charged out on the forlorn hope of dis- 
lodging them. A rush was made on the gallant 
Scot ; he was overpowered and slaughtered after 
a desperate resistance, and the charge of the 
infuriated Ghazees swept up the hillside. In 
momentary panic the defenders yielded the 
ground, carrj-ing downhill with them the rein- 
forcement of Punjaubees which Captain Hall 
was bringing up. Two of the mountain guns 

were lost, but there was a rally at the foot of the 
hill, vmder cover of which the other two were 
extricated. The Afghans refrained from descend- 
ing into the plain, and directed their efforts 
towards cutting off the British troops still in 
position on the Asmai heights. 

It was estimated that the Afghan strength 
disclosed this day did not fall far short of 40,000 
men ; and General Roberts, reluctantly com- 
pelled to abandon for the time anv further 
offensive efforts, determined to withdraw the 
troops from all isolated positions and to con- 
centrate his whole force within the protection 

of the Sherpur can- 
tonment. The orders 
issued to Baker and 
Macpherson, gradu- 
ally to retire into 
the cantonment, were 
executed with skill 
and steadiness. Mac- 
pherson cooll\- 
marched through 
Deh Afghan, his 
baggage sent on in 
front under a guard. 
Jenkins' evacuation 
of the Asmai position 
w a s conspicuously- 
adroit. Baker held 
a covering position 
until all the other 
details had steadily 
made good their 
retirement, and he 
was the last to with- 
draw. Bv dusk the whole British force was 
safely concentrated within the cantonment, and 
the period of the defensive had begun. The 
casualties of the day were serious — 35 killed 
and 107 wounded. During the week of fighting 
the little force had lost altogether, in officers 
and men, 83 killed and 192 wounded. 

Although overlarge for its garrison, the 
Sherpur cantonment possessed many of the 
features of a strong defensive position. On the 
southern and western faces the massive and con- 
tinuous enceinte made it impregnable against any 
force unprovided with siege artillery ; but on 
the eastern face the incomplete wall was low, 
and the northern line of defence on the Behmaroo 
heights was defective until strengthened by a 
series of blockhouses supporting a continuous 
entrenchment studded with batteries. The 
space between the north-western bastion and the 



heights was closed by an entrenchment supported 
bv a laager of Afghan gun-carriages and limbers; 
the open space on the north-eastern angle was 
similarly fortified ; the unfinished eastern wall 
was heightened by built-up tiers of logs, and its 
front, as elsewhere, was covered with abattis 
wire entanglements, and other obstacles. The 
enceinte was divided into sections, to each of 
which was assigned a commanding officer with a 
specified detail of troops ; and a strong brigade 
of European infantry was under the command 
of Brigadier-General Baker, read}' at short notice 
to reinforce any threatened point. Before the 
enemy cut the telegraph wire, in the early 
morning of the 15th, Sir Frederick Roberts had 
informed the authorities in India of his situation 
and need for reinforcement. 

During the 15th and i6th the Afghan troops 
were busily engaged in sacking the Hindoo and 
Kuzzilbash quarters of Cabul, in looting and 
wrecking the houses of chiefs and townsfolk who 
had shown friendliness to the British, and in 
fiercely quarrelling among themselves over the 
spoil. On the 17th and i8th they made sundry 
ostentatious demonstrations against Sherpur, but 
these were never formidable. Although they 
made themselves troublesome with some per- 
severance during the daytime, they consistently 
refrained from night-attacks, to which ordinarily 
the Afghan hillmen are much addicted. There 
never was any investment of Sherpur, nor indeed 
any approximation to an inv'estment. The 
Afghan offensive was not dangerous, but annoy- 
ing and wearisome. It was pushed, it was true, 
with some resohition on the i8th, when several 
thousand men poured out of the city, and skir- 
mished forward under a cover of the gardens and 
enclosures on the plain between Cabul and the 
cantonment. Some of the more adventurous 
were able to get within four hundred paces from 
the enceinte, but could make no further head- 
way, although they long maintained a brisk fire. 
The return fire was chiefly restricted to volleys 
directed on those few of the enemy who oflfered 
a sure mark by exposing themselves ; and shell- 
fire was chiefly used to drive the Afghan 
skirmishers from their cover in the gardens and 
enclosures. On the morning of the iQth it was 
found that in the night they had occupied 
the Meer Akhor fort, a few hundred yards in 
front of the eastern face of the enceinte. Baker 
went out on the errand of destroying it, with 
880 bayonets, two guns, and a party of sappers. 
In the approach through the mist, a sudden 
volley struck d-own several men, and Lieutenant 

Montenaro, of the mounted battery, was mor- 
tally wounded. The fort was heavily shelled, its 
garrison was driven out, and it was blown up. 

For the moment circumstances had enforced 
on Roberts the wisdom of accepting the defensive 
attitude, but he nevertheless knew himself the 
virtual master of the situation. He had but one 
anxiety — the apprehension lest the Afghans 
should not harden their hearts to deliver a real 
assault on his position. That apprehension was 
not long to give him concern. On the 20th the 
enemy took strong possession of the Mahomed 
Shereeff fort on the southern face of Sherpur ; 
and they maintained themselves there during 
the two following days against the fire of siege 
guns mounted on the bastions of the enceinte. 
On the 2 1st and 22nd large numbers of Afghans 
quitted the city, and passing eastward behind 
the Siah Sung heights, took possession in great 
force of the forts and villages outside the eastern 
face of Sherpur, which should have been destroyed 
previously. On the afternoon of the 22nd a 
spy brought in the intelligence that Mahomed 
Jan and his brother chief had resolved to assault 
the cantonment early on the following morning. 
His tidings were true ; and the spy was even 
able to communicate the details of the plan of 
attack. The 2,000 men who were holding the 
King's Garden and the Mahomed Shereeff post 
had been equipped with scaling-ladders, and were 
to make a false attack, which might become a 
real one, against the western section of the 
front. The principal assault, however, was to 
be made against the eastern face of the Behmaroo 
village, unquestionably the weakest part of the 
defensive position. The 23rd was the last day 
of the Mohurrum — the great Mahomedan 
religious festival — when fanaticism would be at 
its height ; and further to stimulate that incen- 
tive to valour, the Mushk-i-Alum was his holy 
self to kindle the beacon fire on the Asmai 
height which would be the signal to the faithful 
to rush, to the attack. 

The information proved perfectly accurate. 
All night long the shouts and chants of the 
Afghans filled the air. Purposeful silence reigned 
throughout the cantonment. In the darkness 
the soldiers mustered and quietly fell into their 
places. The ofiicers commanding sections of the 
defence made their dispositions. The reserves 
were silently standing to their arms. Every eye 
was toward the Asmai height, shrouded still in 
the gloom of the night. A long tongue of flame 
shot up into the air, blazed brilliantly for a few 
moments, and then waned. At the signal a 



fierce fire opened from before one of the gateways 
of the southern face, the flashes indicating that 
the marksmen were plying their rifles within two 
hundred yards of the enceinte. The bullets sped 
harmlessly over the defenders sheltered behind 
the parapet, and in the dusk of the dawn re- 
prisals were not attempted. But this outburst 
of powder-burning against the southern face was 
a mere incident. What men listened for and 
watched for was the development of the true 

our thin line of men. Led by Ghazees, the main 
body of Afghans, who had been hidden in the 
villages and orchards on the east side of Sherpur, 
rushed out in one dense horde, and every throat 
was filling the air with shouts of " AUah-il- 
Allah ! '' The roar surged forward as the line 
advanced, but it was answered by such a roll of 
musketry that it was drowned for the moment, 
and then merged into the general turmoil of 
sound that told our men with Martinis and 


assault on the eastern end of the great parallelo- 
gram. The section-commanders there were 
General Hugh Gough, in charge of the eastern 
end of the Behmaroo heights, and Colonel 
Jenkins from the village down past the native 
hospitals to the bastion at the south-eastern 
corner. The defending troops were the Guides 
from Behmaroo to the hospital, in which were 
lOO Punjaubees ; and beyond to the bastion the 
67th reinforced by two companies of the q2nd. 
From beyond Behmaroo and the eastern trenches 
and walls as day broke, there came a roar of 
voices so loud and menacing that it seemed as if 
an army 50,000 strong was charging down on 

Sniders were holding their 
own against the assailants. 

When the first attack 
was made the morning was 
so dark and misty that the 
outlook from the trenches 
was restricted, and the order to the troops 
was to hold their fire until the enemy should 
be distinctly visible. The Punjaubee detach- 
ment in the hospital opened fire prematurely, 
and presently the Guides, holding Behmaroo 
and the trenches on the slopes, followed the 
example, and sweeping with their fire the 
terrain in front of them broke the force of the 
attack when its leaders were still several hundred 
yards away. Between the hospital and the 
corner bastion, the men of the 67th and 92nd 
awaited with impassive discipline the word of 
permission to begin firing. From out the mist 
at length emerged dense masses of men, ^ome ot 
whom were brandishing swords and knives, 
while others loaded and fired when hurrying 
forward. The order to fire was not given until 
the leading Ghazees were within eighty yards, 



and the mass of assailants nof more than two 
hundred. Heavily struck by volley on voile}', 
the}' recoiled, but soon gathered courage to come 
on again ; and for several hours there was sharp 
fighting, repeated efforts being made to carry 
the low eastern wall. So resolute were the 

determined to take them in flank, and with 
this intention sent out into the open through the 
Behmaroo gorge four field-guns escorted by a 
cavalry regiment. Bending to the right, the guns 
came into action on the Afghan right flank, and 
the counter-stroke had an immediate effect. The 

"the roar surged forward" (/^. 243). 

Afghans that more than once they reached the 
abattis, but each time they were driven back 
with heavy loss. About ten o'clock there was a 
lull, and it seemed that the attacking force was 
owning the frustration of its attempts ; but an 
hour later there was a partial recrudescence of 
the fighting, and the assailants once more came 
on. The attack, however, was not pushed with 
much vigour, and was soon beaten down, 
but the Afghans still maintained a threatening 
attitude, and the fire from the defences was in- 
effectual to dislodge them. The General then 

enemy wavered, and soon were in full retreat. 
The Kohistanee contingent, some 5,000 strong, 
cut loose and marched away northward with 
obvious recognition that the game was up. The 
fugitives were scourged with artillery and rifle 
fire ; and Massy led out the cavalry, swept the 
plain, and drove the lingering Afghans from the 
slopes of Siah Sung. The false attacks on the 
southern face from the King's Garden and the 
Mahomed Shereef fort never made any head. 
Those positions were steadily shelled until 
late in the afternoon, when they were finally 



evacuated, and by nightfall all the villages and 
enclosures between Sherpur and Cabul were 
entirely deserted. Some of these had been de- 
stroyed by sappers from the garrison during the 
afternoon, in the course of which operation two 
gallant Engineer officers, Captain Dundas and 
Lieutenant Nugent, were unfortunately killed 
by the premature explosion of a mine. 

Mahomed Jan had been as good as his word : 
he had delivered his stroke against Sherpur ; 
and that stroke had utterly failed. With its 
failure came promptly the collapse of the national 
rising. Before daybreak of the 24th the formid- 
able combination, which had included all the 
fighting elements of North-Eastern Afghanistan, 
and under whose banners it was believed that 
more than 100,000 armed men had mustered, 
was no more. Not only had it broken up — -it 
had disappeared. Neither in the city itself nor 
in the adjacent villages, nor on the surrounding 
heights, was a tribesman to be seen. So hurried 
had been the Afghan dispersal that the dead 
were left to lie unburied where they had fallen. 
His nine days on the defensive had cost Sir 
Frederick Roberts singularly little in casualties : 
his losses were eighteen killed and sixty-eight 
wounded. The enemy's loss in killed and 
wounded, from first to last of the rising, was 
reckoned to be not under 3,000. 

On the 24th the cavalry rode far and fast in 
pursuit of the fugitives, but the}' overtook none. 

such haste had the fleeing Afghans made. On 
the same day Cabul and the Balla Hissar were 
reoccupied, and General Hills resumed his func- 
tions as military governor of the city, rice the 
old moulla Mushk-i-Alum, departed precipitately 
to regions unknown. Cabul had the aspect ot 
having undergone a siege at the hands of an 
enemy ; the bazaars were broken up and de- 
serted. After making a few examples, the 
General issued a proclamation of amnesty, ex- 
cluding therefrom only five of the principal 
leaders and fomenters of the rece<"it rising. This 
policy of conciliation bore good fruit ; and a 
durbar was held on January qth, 1880, at which 
were present about 300 sirdars, chiefs, and head- 
men from the various provinces. Although the 
country remained disturbed, there were no more 
outbreaks. Cabul and Sherpur were strongly 
fortified, military roads were made, and all cover 
and obstructions for the space of 1,000 yards 
outside the enceinte of Sherpur were swept 
away. In March the Cabul force had increased 
to a strength of about 11,500 men and twenty- 
six guns ; and General Roberts formed it into two 
divisions, one of which he himself conmianded, 
the other being commanded by Major-General 
John Ross. 

On 2nd May, Sir Donald Stewart arrived at 
Cabul from Candahar, and took over from Sir 
Frederick Roberts the command in North- 
Eastern Afghanistan. 


[Pr.oto., Lock &' Whitfielii. Rtgtnt St..: W- 


WHEN Nicholas Nickleby suggested 
to Mr. Vincent Crummies that 
the " terrific broadsword combat " 
on his stage would look better if 
the two adversaries were more of a size, the 
veteran manager replied that the remark showed 
how little he knew about the business. What 
the public really liked to see was the little fellow 
getting the better of the big one. And Mr. 
Crummies Avas right. Most men have a '' weak- 
ness for the weaker side," and if there is one 
thing they like better to see than a fair and 
even fight, it is the spectacle of a victory won by 
skill and pluck against superior strength. Such 
was the victory that splendid old soldier the 
Archduke Albert of Austria won at Custozza 
during the brief campaign of Northern Italy 
in 1866. 

As it happened, it was — so far as tangible 
results were concerned — a barren success. The 
prize that was fought for was the possession of 
Venice and its territory ; and by the course of 
events this went to Italy at the close of the war, 
notwithstanding her defeats by land and sea. 
But for all that, Custozza and Lissa were a solid 
gain to Austria, for they enabled her to yield 
to fate without losing heart and hope for the 
future. Broken as her power was on the wider 
field of the struggle with Prussia, she could yet 
trust to sailors of the stamp of Tegethoff, 
soldiers like the Archduke Albert, to secure for 
her the respect even of the victors, and to 
ensure that before long she would again be a 
factor to be reckoned with in the councils of 

The Archduke Albert was the son of a famous 
soldier, the Archduke Charles, who was one of 
the most formidable opponents of the Great 
Napoleon, and who by the victory of Aspern 
brought him within sight of ruin many years 
before Waterloo was fought and won. The 

Archduke Albert had distinguished himself in 
the campaigns of Italy in 1848 and 1840, taking 
part in more than one hard-fought action on 
the very ground which he held in 1866. When, 
in that year, Italy began to prepare to take the 
field against Austria as the ally of Prussia, the 
Government at Vienna concentrated the bulk of 
its forces on the northern frontiers of the empire 
to meet the more formidable attack that was 
threatened from Berlin, and the Archduke 
was left to hold Venetia against the Italians 
with very inferior forces. It was this marked 
inferiority that gave special interest to his 
successful campaign against the great armies 
that were marshalled against him. 

At the end of the month of May the Italians 
had concentrated a main army of 140,000 men 
in Lombardy, and a second force of about 60,000 
between Ferrara and Bologna in the Romagna. 
The army in Lombardy was commanded nomin- 
ally by the King, Victor Emmanuel ; really by 
his chief of the staff, the veteran General La 
^Marmora, the same who had commanded the 
Sardinian contingent in the Crimea. The army 
was divided into three corps under Durando, 
Cucchiari, and Delia Rocca. The King's eldest 
son. Prince Humbert, then Crown Prince and 
now King of Italy, commanded a division 
in Delia Rocca's corps. His brother. Prince 
Amadeo, afterwards King of Spain, commanded 
a brigade of Grenadiers in the first corps. This 
army was destined to cross the little river 
Mincio, which formed the boundary between 
Lombardy and Venetia, thus attacking the 
Austrians in front ; while the second army of 
bo,ooo men under Cialdini would be in a 
position to cross the lower course of the Po, 
and fall upon their flank. On the left of the 
royal army Garibaldi was assembling a third 
force of between 30,000 and 40,000 men, with 
which he was to invade the Tyrol. 



To meet these three armies — amounting in 
all to at least 235,000 men — the Archduke 
Albert had nominally at his disposal a force 
of 135,000. Thus, he had a majority of 100,000 
against him at the very outset, but even this 
does not represent the whole deficiency. First 
he had to detach 12,000 men for the defence 
of the Tyrol. These were expected to be able 
to deal with Garibaldi's 30,000 or 40,000 
volunteers ; 12,000 more were assigned to the 
defence of Istria and the neighbourhood of 
Trieste and Pola, where, considering the 
strength of Italy on the sea, there was supposed 

^'^o be some danger of a naval descent ; 40,000 
T^ere employed in the garrisons of the Quadri- 
lateral (Mantua, Verona, Peschiera and Leg- 
nago) and in the fortresses of Rovigo and 
Venice ; finally 6,000 had to be left to guard 
his communications with Austria. This reduced 
the field army to a little over 60,000 men, and 
with these he had to meet the 200,000 of Italy. 

The Italians had divided their forces, and the 
Archduke saw that his best chance of success 
would lie in an attempt to deal with one of 
their armies before the other could come to 
its assistance. In order to do this it would 
be necessary from the verj' outset to conceal 
his own position and movements, and be fully 
informed of those of his opponents. Therefore, 
concentrating his army in a central position 
behind the Adige, a little to the east of Verona, 
a point from which he could move either against 

the King or against Cialdini, he left only a screen 
of cavalry outposts along the Mincio, between 
Peschiera and Mantua, and along the north 
bank of the Po, opposite Ferrara. Once war 
was declared they allowed no one to pass the 
frontier in either direction, and even before that 
only those few privileged persons who had 
obtained a special passport from the Austrian 
military authorities were allowed to cross. 

The cavalry scouts and vedettes did their 
work to perfection. They prevented the Italiansi 
from obtaining any information as to the plani. 
or movements of the Archduke, and they kept 
him well informed as to all 
that was going on upon 
the Lombard shore of the 
Mincio. The Archduke 
had in the last few days 
before the declaration of 
war made up his mind to 
attack the King's army. If 
Victor Emmanuel crossed 
the Mincio he would fall 
upon him on the ground 
between that river and the 
Adige ; or if the Italians 
remained in Lombard}- he 
intended himself to cross 
the Mincio, trusting to be 
able to defeat them, and 
then return in time to deal 
with Cialdini. In both 
cases he would have the 
advantage of being able to 
make one or other of the 
four fortresses of the Quad- 
rilateral the base of his attack. On June 20th 
he received notice that war had been declared. 
On the same day he had reports from his 
cavalry outposts to the effect that both the 
Italian armies were preparing to advance. From 
the westward the King's army was closing in 
upon various points on the Mincio, and to the 
southward Cialdini was collecting material to 
construct bridges across the Po at Franco- 
linetto, and had actually occupied an island 
in the middle of the wide stream at that point. 
The Archduke remained quiet near Verona for 
nearly two days longer. His plan was to lull 
his enemy into a false sense of securit}', and 
then strike swiftly and sharply. All the bridges 
on the Mincio were left standing, and the 
screen of cavalry posts received orders not tu 
oppose the Italians seriously at any point when 
they tried to cross. When the invaders entered 



Venetia the Austrian horsemen were to fall back 
before them, to do as little fighting as possible, 
but never to lose sight of them. 

On Thursday, June 22nd, the royal army of 
Italy was concentrated on the right or Lombard 
bank of the Mincio. At Monzambano the en- 
gineers were at work constructing bridges. At 
Valeggio and Goito the cavalry of De Sonnaz 
was ready to seize the existing bridges as soon as 

Italians very slow and cautious in their advance. 
It was the afternoon before he retired from 
Villafranca, and behind the little country town 
he made a stand with his horsemen and a 
battery of artillery ; and though he again 
retreated after a short skirmish, the result was. 
that the Italian cavalr}^ of De Sonnaz did not 
push their explorations any further that dav. 
They reported to the royal headquarters that 

A- E R o N A . 

the word was given to advance. In the grey of 
the early morning of Friday they crossed the 
river at both points. The Austrian cavalry, 
under Colonel Pulz, fell back without firing a 
shot. Avoiding the hills that lie northward 
towards the Garda lake, Pulz retired across the 
level ground of the plain of Villafranca. The 
w plain is thickly populated. There are numerous 
villages and hamlets, and plenty of roads, foot- 
paths, and tracks ; but it is difficult country to 
manoeuvre in, for everywhere the ground is 
cut up with small watercourses and irrigation 
channels — hedgerows, orchards, and plantations 
restrict the view. Along the course of the 
streams are swampy rice-fields, and on every 
stretch of sloping ground there are thickly- 
planted vineyards. Pulz was able to make the 

the Austrians had no force between the Adige 
and the Mincio beyond a couple of regiments ot 
cavalry and a battery of horse artillery ; and 
this confirmed La Marmora in his idea that the 
Archduke would be compelled by his inferior 
numbers to remain on the defensive near 

All day the Italian army had been pouring 
across the bridges of the Mincio, and advancing 
by the hot, sandy roads — the right into the plain 
of Villafranca, the left towards the low hills that 
border it on the northward, stretching from the 
lake of Garda to Custozza and Somma Cam- 
pagna. General La Marmora was confident of 
victory. He was occupying the very ground 
where the allied armies of France and Italy had 
stayed their onward march in 1859. He was 


going to take up the work of conOjUest where 
Napoleon III. had left off, and he hoped to 
complete it by entering Venice as a victor. 
North and south and away to his front lay 
the famed fortresses of the Quadrilateral, the 
keys of Northern Italy ; but their garrisons 
were cowering behind the ramparts, and doing 
nothing to disturb his movements. 

On the Saturday night about half the Italian 
army was across the river, and the rest was 
close up to the bridges, readj,' to follow' in the 
morning. The troops were to be moving by 
3.30 a.m., and La Marmora had issued orders for 
an advance upon V'erona. The right was to 
move by the plain of Villafranca to the hills 
round Somma Campagna ; the left was to 
enter the hill country, more directly marching 
from ^Monzambano and Valeggio on Castel- 
nuovo and Sona. The object of the movement 
was to occupy t-he mass of hills to the south-east 
of the lake of Garda, cut off Peschiera from 
Verona, and threaten the positions held by the 
Archduke near that fortress. 

On the Sunday morning the Italians were 
under arms at half-past three, and soon after 
their columns were on the move. The men had 
no breakfast before starting, bevond a piece of 
bread or a biscuit taken from the haversack and 
eaten as the}- waited for the order to march off. 
It was intended to halt later on for breakfast, 
but the Italian staff was anxious to get the 
march over as earlv as possible, as it was 
expected that it would be a verv hot day. So 
sure were they that the enemv would not be 
encountered in force that no cavalry were sent 
out to scout in front. In front of each column 
there was an advance guard ; but so badly was 
the march arranged, and so loosely was the 
connection between the advance guards and 
those that followed them kept up, that the 
vanguard of Sirtori's division, consisting of 
some 2,500 men with six guns, took the wrong 
road, and got in front of the vanguard of 
Cerale's division ; while, b}- a blunder of the 
leading portion of Cerale's column, his main 
body wandered on to the road assigned to 
General Sirtori. Thus there was the singular 
spectacle of two advance guards following each 
other on one road, while their main bodies 
calmly marched in long procession along another. 

The start had been made shortlv before four 
o'clock. The march had proceeded for a little 
more than an hour, and five had just struck 
from the village bell towers, when General La 
Marmora, who was riding with centre, was 

surprised at hearing far away to the right, in 
the direction of Villafranca, the roar of guns 
in action. The two divisions of the Italian 
third corps, commanded by the Crown Prince 
Humbert and bv General Bixio, had been at- 
tacked bv Austrian cavalry and horse aniller\. 
The Italians behaved well. The infantry formed 
into squares, and beat off three cavalry charges ; 
the artillery galloped up, unlimbered, and drove 
away the Austrian guns with a few well-aimed 
shells. By six o'clock the fight was over, and 
the enemy was in retreat. La Marmora had 
ridden towards the firing, and when he received 
the report of what had happened, he at once 
made up his mind that the affair was of very 
little importance. He felt sure that the Austrian 
force consisted only of Pulz's regiments, the 
same which had been watching the river two 
davs before, and had retired through Villafranca 
when the Italians advanced on the Saturdav. 

The divisions of his first corps on the left had 
now entered the hilly countrv, and at half-past 
six, a good half-hour after the last shot had 
been fired at Villafranca, there was a still more 
startling incident on the left. Sirtori was march- 
ing his division across the deep little valley 
through which the Tione flows, and the leading 
regiment was ascending the slope beyond its left 
bank. Sirtori himself rode near the head of the 
column. Suddenly a volley was fired at the 
leading ranks by riflemen lying in ambush 
among the trees and enclosures of a farmstead 
at the top of the slope. Sirtori, pulling up his 
horse, looked through his field-glasses at the 
wreaths of smoke that hung in the still, clear 
morning air ; but so well hidden were the rifle- 
men that he could not make out their uniforms. 
Nevertheless, he felt so sure that the Austrians 
were not in front of him, and he so little 
suspected that his vanguard was on another 
road, that he told those near him that the 
ambushed foes must be their own comrades of 
the vanguard firing on them by mistake, and he 
sent two of his officers galloping forward to stop 
the fire. They came careering back down the 
slope to tell him that they had narrowly escaped 
being killed or captured by a regiment of Aus- 
trian Jagers, and the next minute the sight of 
guns unlimbering on the ridge told the startled 
Italian general that he had come upon a hostile 
army in battle array. A minute more and the 
deep voice of the first gun told even La 
Marmora that he had made a terrible mistake, 
and that the Austrians were in action on his 
left as well as his right. 



What had happened ? The ItaHan columns 
working their way into the hills — one by this 
road, another by that, with no connection 
between them, with no concerted plan of action, 
and, what was worse, with the men fasting and 
unprepared for a long day's battle, were one by 
one coming into collision with the army drawn 
up to receive them under the cover of the first 
ridges of the hills. Late on the Friday the 
Archduke had learned of the Italian advance, 
and had given orders for the crossing of the 
Adige, near Verona. On the Saturdav, while 
the Italians believed he was still inactive behind 
the river, he had got his whole army across it, 
and he bivouacked for the night within striking 
distance of the royal army, in which no one, 
from the King to the youngest soldier, had an 
idea that 60,000 foes were so close in their front. 
Considering how densely peopled the whole 
district is, it is a marvel that none of the 
inhabitants warned the Italians of their danger. 
If any of them made an effort to pass the 
Austrian outposts, the attempt was a failure. 
At midnight the Archduke received a telegram 
from General Scudier, who commanded on the 
lower Po. It informed him that Cialdini's van- 
guard was crossing the river, and the Austrians 
were slowly retiring before his advance. But 
this made no change in the arrangements for 
next day. The Archduke still counted on smash- 
ing up the King's army before the two Italian 
armies could get near enough to help each 
other. He believed the King's plan would be 
to march direct through the plain of Villafranca 
to the Adige ; and his own orders for next da}' 
were that the various corps were to face south- 
ward and westward, moving from their camps at 
2 a.m., gaining the hills, and then sweeping 
round, so as to descend on the flank of the 
Italian advance. Although he had not com- 
pletelv divined the plans of the Italians, his 
own plans were so sound that they met even their 
altered arrangements. Instead of falling on their 
flank, he struck the heads of their ill-connected 
columns as they strove to gain the hills. His 
own march had begun at 2 o'clock, in the dark- 
ness of a midsummer night. There was soon 
enough light to move rapidly and surely. At 
five the sound of guns engaged in the brief 
action at Villafranca led the Austrians for awhile 
to believe that the main Italian advance was in 
the plain ; but their scouts soon brought them 
news of the real direction in which the enemy 
was moving, and when the Italians entered the 
hills the}' blundered into a fight for which they 

were not prepared, while the Austrians met 
them with a well-organised battle line, every 
unit in which \\-orked well with those to the 
right and left of it, and proved once more that 
even enormous numbers count for less than 
discipline and union under one strong will 
directed by a clear and well-trained mind. 

So far as the Italians were concerned, Cus- 
tozza was a series of detached fights ; for the 
Austrian commander it was a tremendous 
struggle, of which he controlled and co- 
ordinated all the parts. 

Let us return to the fight at the point where 
it began on the Italian left. As soon as Sirtori 
found that he had an Austrian force to deal 
with, he got his division into line on the very 
unfavourable ground on which its leading batta- 
lion stood when the first shots were fired, and 
made repeated efforts to drive the enemy from 
the farm and the ridges round Pernisa. Soon 
he heard firing away to the left and right. The 
battle was becoming general. To the left, about 
a mile and a half away, his advanced guard, 
under General Villahermosa, had come upon 
the Austrian reserve division holding the slopes 
of Monte Cricol, a bold ridge over which the 
Valeggio road runs about two miles to the south 
of Castelnuovo. The fight here had a very 
important effect on the fortunes of the day. 
Villahermosa, believing that he had the whole 
of Sirtori's division close behind him, resolved 
to clear the way for it by driving the Austrians 
from the hill, and sent forward his riflemen — 
the famous Bersaglieri — whose ordinary march- 
ing pace is a smart run. They made a gallant 
dash at the Monte Cricol, but the attack was a 
failure. Outnumbered and over-weighted, the 
Italian riflemen fell back, and then the Aus- 
trians came charging down the hill after them, 
and began to drive Villahermosa and his van- 
guard along the Valeggio road. More than an 
hour had passed in this fight in front of Monte 
Cricol, when again the tide was turned by the 
arrival of the leading troops of General Cerale's 
division, which had marched towards the firing. 
The division consisted of some 12,000 men, with 
eighteen guns. First came General Villarev, a 
Savoyard soldier, with two battalions of Bersag- 
lieri as the vanguard. Then came the rest of 
Villarey's brigade — eight battalions — and behind 
it the guns and a brigade of eight more bat- 
talions under General Dho. As Cerale brought 
his division into action he saw not only the 
victorious Austrians in front, but other white- 
coated columns moving on the hills to his right, 



beyond the Tione. These were part of the corps 
that was attacking his colleague Sirtori, but 
they brought their guns to bear even upon the 
Valeggio road, so that Cerale had to turn some 
of his own artillery upon them. His main force 
he threw against the Austrians in front, in order 
to rescue \''illahermosa, and for the moment 
superior force was on the side of the Italians. 
The)' cleared the road, captured two guns, 
and, pushing boldly on, got to the crest of the 
Monte Cricol, and also turned the enemy out of 



Mongabia on the right of the road. It looked 
as if here, on the extreme western edge of the 
battle, the Italians were winning. 

But now came an incident which shows how, 
even in modern war with tens of thousands in 
the field, a handful of brave men can change the 
whole aspect of a battle. Across the Tione, to 
the right of this portion of the fight, there was 
a regiment of Austrian cavalry, known as the 
Sicilian Uhlans (lancers, who had formerly had 
the King of the Two Sicilies for their honorary 
colonel). Colonel de Berres, who commanded the 
lancers, had been watching through his field- 
glass the fight for the Monte Cricol, and seeing 
that the Austrian brigade, which was now re- 
tiring before the Italians, was hard pressed, he 
thought he could help his friends by a sudden 

charge on Cerale's flank. One Italian brigade 
was in line of battle driving in the Austrians ; 
the other was in a long marching column on the 
road. Berres called up one of his captains — 
Bechtoldsheim — and ordered him to take three 
troops and attack the enemy on the road. The 
three troops numbered exactl}' 103 officers and 
men. The brigade of General Dho was at least 
5,000 strong, but the hundred without a moment's 
hesitation trotted off to charge the 5,000. They 
descended the slope to the Tione, found a ford, 
got across, and quietly made their way up the 
hill to the right of the Italians. These seem not 
to have had the least warning of the coming 
attack. They were moving slowly forward in 
column when the handful of splendid horsemen 
came rushing doAvn the hill like a hurricane. 
Generals Cerale and Dho, with their staff", were 
riding at the head of the column. The Uhlans, 
falling on the flank of the foremost regiment, 
crashed through it with levelled lances, and then 
rode for the crowd of officers, and scattered 
them right and left. The two generals escaped 
with difficulty. Cerale was hit by a revolver 
bullet in the mclec^ and Dho received three 
lance wounds. Two guns which were on the 
road just behind the staff were galloped back to 
the rear by their teams, and battalion after 
battalion broke and ran as the lancers dashed 
down the road cheering and striking right and 
left with their lances, the retiring guns being 
now the main object of their charge. At last 
the frightened gunners cut the traces, and the 
guns were overturned in the press. But, with 
the exception of one battalion, Dho's division 
was now a panic-stricken mob. On both sides 
of the road the valle}^ was full of men Avho had 
thrown away their arms and were running for 
their lives. Two thousand of them did not stop 
till they had put the bridges of Monzambano 
and Valeggio between them and the enemy. 
And yet that enemy consisted only of a handful 
of lancers. If one company had stood its ground 
and fired one stead}- volley the charge would 
have been stopped. When the lancers at last 
pulled bridle and turned to ride back they had 
not lost a score of their small number. Captain 
Bechtoldsheim, their brave leader, had had his 
horse killed under him, but close by an Italian 
major had just been run through with a lance, 
and Bechtoldsheim caught the horse of his fallen 
foe and again put himself at the head of his 
men. But as they rode back they found the one 
Italian battalion that had kept together had 
lined the ditches on both sides of the only 



possible track. The lancers had to . gallop 
through a sheet of flame from the hostile rifles, 
and the road was strewn with men and horses. 
When Bechtoldsheim regained the hill there 
were only sixteen of his brave Uhlans beside 

had just witnessed the charge ot the lancers. 
The Italians tried more than once to make a 
stand, but they were driven from position after 
position, and their commander, Villarey, was 
shot dead while forming the 30th Regiment for 


him. They had left two officers, eighty-four 
men, and seventy-nine horses in the valley, killed 
and wounded; but they had done their work, and 
their charge had decided the fortune of the day. 
Villarey's brigade was now all that was left 
of Cerale's division. The Austrians had been 
reinforced, and they promptly attacked and 
retook the Monte Cricol, and drove the Italians 
down the hill and along the same valley which 

a counter-attack on the victors. After his fall 
there was nothing but wild confusion on the 
Italian left. Here and there, however, handfuls 
of brave men acted in a way that did something 
to redeem the honour of the Italian arms. A 
little group of ten officers and thirty men of the 
44th Regiment, finding that they were aban- 
doned by their panic-stricken comrades, threw 
themselves into a farmhouse, taking the flag of 



the regiment with them. They held it for two 
hours against the Austrians, and only surren- 
dered it when the building was set on fire. 
But their flag was not captured. They had cut 
it into fortv pieces, and each of them took a 
piece. When thev came back from Austria after 
the war the pieces were sewn together, and the 
flag was restored to the regiment. 

The village of Oliosi, between the Valeggio 
road and the Tione, was held by the Italians, 
and aff"orded some protection to their retreat 
from the disastrous fight before the Monte 
Cricol. It was 
stormed by a column 
of two Austrian 
regiments under 
General Piret, which 
crossed the river, 
and cleared the vil- 
lage without much 
difliiculty. In one 
house — the presby- 
tery, near the vil- 
lage church — the 
Italians held out 
for nearly two hours. 
When the house 
was all but demo- 
lished the little gar- 
rison surrendered, 
and five officers 
and forty-nine men 
were made prisoners. 

What was left of 
Cerale's division, together with part of Sirtori's 
vanguard, now rallied on the bold ridge of 
Monte Vento. To their left General Pianelli's 
division, which had just crossed the Mincio, was 
coming up from the bridges of Monzambano, 
bringing some 12,000 fresh men to support 
them. The Austrians were pushing in between 
the hill and the river ; and one of their rifle 
regiments advancing over-boldly, was surrounded 
by Pianelli's troops, and the 700 Jagers were all 
either shot down or captured. The reserve of 
the Italian ist corps, consisting chiefly of Ber- 
saglieri, was also directed upon Monte Vento. 
On the possession of this ridge the safety 
of the whole army depended, for if the 
Austrians took it they would be in a position 
to cut off" the Italians from the bridges over 
the Mincio. 

So far the fight on the left had gone b}- ten 
o'clock. On the rest of the field it was the same. 
Everywhere the Italians had come into action 

piecemeal against solid masses of Austrians, and 
in every one of the detached fights that was in 
progress from left to right they were being 
pushed back. In the Tione valley Sirtori had 
failed to carry the ridge near Pernisa. He had 
himself been routed and driven across the river 
bv the advancing Austrians, and had lost three 
guns. He had rallied his men and crossed the 
stream a second time, only to be a second time 
driven back. Still further to the right among 
the hills towards Custozza Brignone's division 
had come to grief. The Italians had fought 

well and lost heavily, 
Prince Amadeo and 
General Gozzani 
both falling severely 
wounded at the head 
of their brigades. 
About ten. La Mar- 
mora was so alarmed 
b}- the reports that 
reached him from 
every side that he 
told the King he 
thought it was a 
lost battle, and was 
on the point of 
giving the order to 
retire to the bridges 
when an encourag- 
ing message from 
Durando, who was 
bringing the re- 



English Miles 

serves into action 
on the left, led him to change his mind, and 
continue the fight. Having made at the outset 
such a terrible mistake as to the position of the 
Austrians, he seemed all da}- to be e.xpecting 
some new surprise and disaster ; and though 
really there were only Pulz's cavalry in the 
plain to his extreme right, he was so an.xious 
about a possible attack in that direction that he 
kept Bixio and Prince Humbert's division 
inactive all day at Villafranca. They had not 
fired a shot since the short skirmish with the 
cavaln,- in the early morning, and all through 
the blazing heat of the day the men sat or lay 
stretched in the shadows of the trees, listening 
to the roar of the fight in the hills, while their 
officers impatiently waited for orders to move. 
The only order the}- got was a message that all 
was lost, and the moment had come to retreat. 
But this was some hours later. By eleven 
o'clock the Austrians had disposed of Sirtori's 
division, and crossing the river after his retreating 



battalions, the}- stormed the strong position 
of Santa Lucia, thus almost interposing between 
the Italian left and right. Artillery was massed 
against Monte Vento, and further westward a 
column of attack moved forward to attempt to 
seize the bridges on the Mincio at Monzambano. 
On the right the two fresh divisions of Cugia 
and Govone strengthened the Italian line, and 
delayed for a while the advance of the Austrians, 
whose object in this quarter was the capture of 
the village of Custozza, which stands on a bold 
hill overlooking the plain of Villafranca. 

The loss of Santa Lucia made it ver)- difficult 
for the Italians to hold on to Monte Vento. 
General Durando was actually discussing the 
question of retiring when he was shot down, and 
General Chilini, who had assumed the command 
in his stead, abandoned the position as soon as 
the Austrians advanced upon it. This made 
the defeat of the whole Italian army inevitable, 
for the Austrians could now advance and seize 
the ground between Monte Vento and the 
Mincio, the very ground over which the Italian 
army must retire if it was to withdraw to its 
own territory, and across which it would have to 
keep up its communications with Lombardy, 
even if it could maintain itself in Venetia. 

On the right the Italians had been driven 
back upon Custozza. It was near four o'clock. 
The Austrians had every available man and 
every gun in action. Their men were weary 
with the night march and the long fight among 
the hills under the blazing midsummer sun, 
which shone in a cloudless sk}-. But it was 
worse for the Italians. Most of them had eaten 
nothing all day, and they had none of the 
inspiration of success. They had been losing 
ground all da}-, and the}- had lost all confidence 
in their chiefs and in themselves. Yet they had 
still forty thousand men who either had not 
fired a shot or had not been seriously engaged. 
These were the two divisions at Villafranca 
(Bixio's and the Crown Prince's) and the two 
reserve divisions of Cucchiari's corps, which were 
struggling along roads so encumbered with 
a confused mass of baggage and ammunition 
waggons that it was only when all was over that 
they approached the field. It would be difficult 
to find more striking proof of the hopeless 
incapacity of La Marmora and his staffi 

At five o'clock the village and hill of Custozza 

were stormed with a fierce rush by the columns 
on the Austrian left. The hills were now com- 
pletely in the possession of the Archduke. He 
had driven the last of the Italians on to the low 
ground, and everywhere they were retiring 
towards the river, thousands having already 
streamed across the bridges in a confused and 
disorderly march. The Austrians were so ex- 
hausted with their nineteen hours of marching 
and fighting that there was no pursuit. If the 
Archduke had had a few thousand fresh troops 
he might have captured whole masses of the 
fugitives, who were huddled together along the 
Mincio, waiting to cross. Next day the Austrian 
cavalry pushed into Lombardy, and such was 
the impression made on the Italian army by the 
collapse of Custozza that La Marmora made no 
effort to stop them, but retired first behind the 
Chiese and then behind the Oglio, abandoning a 
considerable part of Lombardy. Meanwhile, the 
Archduke had marched from the scene of his 
victory back to the Adige, in order to be able to 
fall on Cialdini if he persisted in his invasion of 
Venetia. But the lesson of Custozza was enough 
to make the second Italian army withdraw into 
the Romagna. 

The Austrians lost in the battle 960 killed, 
3,6qo wounded, and some hundreds of prisoners, 
chiefly the Jagers captured by Pianelli's division. 
The Italian loss in killed and wounded was not 
quite so heavy, the killed being 720 and the 
wounded 3,112, but they lost in prisoners and 
missing 4,315 officers and men. On the Italian 
side General Villarey was killed, and Generals 
Dho, Durando, Gozzani, and Prince Amadoe 
were wounded. But a mere comparison of 
losses can give no idea of the effect of the battle 
on the two armies. The Austrian army was for 
all practical purposes intact, full of confidence in 
itself and in its leader. A great part of the 
Italian army had degenerated into something 
like an armed mob, all confidence in the 
generals was gone, and, instead of talking of 
a march upon Venice, men were asking them- 
selves if they could hold Northern Italy against 
an Austrian invasion. Custozza had given one 
more proof of the fact that victory is not always 
with the big battalions, and that a skilful leader 
can bring to nought the onset of less ably handled 
troops, though they outnumber his own by tens 
of thousands. 

ON the 1 6th of March, 1812, when the 
poplar trees that fringed the Guadiana 
were bending under a tempest of wind 
and rain, a British force some 15,000 
strong, with a battering train of fifty-two guns, 
reached Badajoz — a strongly-fortified Spanish 
town near the frontier of Portugal — the bugles 
of the "qfth" playing "St. Patrick's Day" as 
they faced the furious equinoctial gale. 

About a year before, the scoundrel Imas had 
delivered up the place to Marshal Soult, whose 
clubfoot did not prevent his being one of the 
most active men and fearless riders in the 
French service ; and although we had made two 
attempts to retake it, we had failed on each 
occasion after heavy losses, our battering train 
being shamefully insufficient, and the enemy 
very much on the alert ; the third time we were 
successful, and it is of this I am about to tell. 

Badajoz was the pax aiigiista of the Romans, 
and a granite bridge with twenty-eight arches, 
dating from Roman times, still spanned the 
sluggish river on the north-west ; but, save 
that the town had been frequently taken and 
retaken by Moors, Goths^ and Spaniards, and 
was the birthplace of Morales, the painter, there 
was nothing very remarkable about its quaint, 
crooked streets and massive cathedral beyond 
the natural strength of its position, rising some 
300 feet above the marshy plain, with eight 
bastions and their connecting curtains to protect 
it from attack. 

It remained for Philippon and his gallant 
garrison, and our veteran troops under the Earl 
of Wellington — as he was then st3'led — to render 
E-adajoz immortal, and bring a flush of pride 
and a thrill of horror to future generations 
who may read the tale. 

The General of Brigade Philippon, colonel of 
the 8th of the French Line, and member of the 
Legion of Honour, commanded in Badajoz with 

a force of 4,742 men — composed partly of 
the 9th Light Infantry, the 88th Regiment, the 
Hesse-Darmstadt, some dragoons and chasseurs, 
artillery, engineers, and invalids, and seventy- 
seven Spaniards who ought to have been fighting 
on the other side. 

Although somewhat short of powder and 
shell, Badajoz presented a formidable task to a 
besieging armv, being protected on one side 
by the river, 500 yards wide in places, and 
having several outworks, or forts, notably one 
called the Picurina, on a hill to the south-east, 
whose defenders could be reinforced along a 
covered-way leading to the San Roque lunette 
close to the town walls. 

Philippon had, moreover, taken every means 
possible to strengthen his post : mines were laid, 
the arch of a bridge built up to form a large 
inundation, ravelins constructed and ramparts 
repaired, ditches cut and filled with water, and 
that he should have no useless mouths to fight 
for, the inhabitants were ordered to lay up three 
months' provisions or march out there and then. 

Such was Badajoz when Picton's 3rd, or 
"Fighting," Division ; Lowry Cole's 4th — or, as 
they were nicknamed at the close of the war, 
" Enthusiastic" — Division ; and the Light, known 
as " The " Division, invested it in the rain. 

The rest of the army watched Soult's move- 
ments closely, and prepared to oppose the relief 
of the town if that should be attempted, and the 
5th Divioion was on its way from Beira to assist 
the siege. 

As soon as darkness had fallen on the night of 
the 17th, 2,000 men moved silently forward to 
guard our trenching parties, and, with mattock 
and shovel, we began to break ground, 160 yards 
from the Picurina, the sentinels on the ramparts 
hearing nothing, as the howling of the wind 
drowned the sound of digging, and the sputter- 
ing rain fell incessantly into the works. So well 



had the volunteers from the 3rd Division 
laboured, for we had no regular sappers, that the 
light of the misty March morning revealed 4,000 
feet of communication, and a parallel 600 yards 
long, on perceiving which the garrison opened a 
tremendous fire of cannon and musketry. The 
deafening roar of the heavy guns and the crack 
of rifles and smooth-bores continued with little 
cessation for many days, increasing as we finished 
battery after battery and brought them to bear 
upon the doonied town. 

The condition of our siege artillery would 
hardly be credited were it not borne out by the 
unanimous published statements of credible 

Of the fifty-two pieces, some dated from the 

a little body of horsemen jingling out, foHowed 
by 1,300 infantry, who concealed themselves in 
the covered trench connecting San Roque with 
the Picurina. 

The cavalr}' pretended to skirmi-h, and, divid- 
ing into two parties, one pursued the oilier 
towards our lines, where they were challenged, 
and allowed to pass, on replying in Portuguese. 

There was some excuse for the conduct of our 
pickets, as the French dragoons, in consequence 
of the difficulty of procuring new uniform.s from 
France, were allowed to use the brown cloth so 
general all over the Peninsula, and were thus 
easily miscaken for our Portuguese allies, some 
of whom also dressed in brown. But we were 
soon undeceived, for the troopers dashed at the 

days of Philip II. and the Spanish Armada ; 
others were cast in the reigns of Philip III. 
and also John IV. of Portugal, who reigned 
in 1640 ; we had 24-pounders of George II. 's 
day, and Russian naval guns ; the bulk of the 
extraordinary medley being obsolete brass engines 
which required seven to ten minutes to cool 
between each discharge, lest the overheating 
should cause the muzzles to drop. 

The ammunition was little better, and an 
engineer officer tells us that his 18-pound shot 
was of three distinct sizes, which had to be 
sorted out and painted difterent colours, while it 
was often possible to put a finger between the 
ball and the top of the gun, when the former 
was placed ready for ramming. Yet, with this 
miserable materiel we were expected to fight 
the most intelligent army in Europe ! 

Wellington learned from his spies that the 
garrison were to make a sally on the 19th, and 
at I o'clock the Talavera Gate suddenly opened, 


engineers' park, cut down some men, and 
galloped off" with several hundreds of the en- 
trenching tools, for which Philippon had offered 
a large reward. 

Simultaneously the infantry sprang out of the 
covered-way with a part of the Picurina garrison, 
and, rushing forward, began to destroy our works. 

We drove them back almost to the walls of 
Badajoz, killing thirty and wounding 287. But 
we lost heavily, for it was a sharp encounter ; and, 
unhappily, our chief engineer, Colonel Fletcher, 
was badly hit, a buUet striking a silver dollar in 
his fob and forcing it an inch into the groin, 
confining him to his tent until the -latter end 
of the siege, the Earl going each morning to 
consult about the day's operations. 

Our movements were by no means faultless, 
Wellington having great difficulties to contend 
with in many directions ; in fact, during t'he 
whole of the Peninsular War he may be said to 
have fought the French with one hand, an3 



Spanish pride, obstinacy, and selfishness with the 
other — fortunate indeed in possessing a genius 
which was ever at its best the more trying the 
emergenc}-. We stationed a cavalry regiment 
to prevent any further surprises, and continued 
our digging, the pitiless rain slanting unceasingly 
oji the trench guards in their grey overcoats 
and oilskin shakoe-covers, while the working- 
parties shovelled and measured, and piled up long 
ridges of earth, standing ankle-deep in the water 
which filled the saps and trenches. 

■Many a man of the 3rd Division spun round 
and fell on the wet ground, for the enemy kept 
up a steady fire, and one shell dropped, fizzing, 
into a' parallel and exploded, killing fifteen of 
the workers in a moment. 

The Guadiana, too, rose in full flood and tore 
away the pontoon bridge which connected us 
with our stores at Elvas : it was replaced, how- 
ever, and the garrison of Badajoz saw us creeping 
nearer and nearer to their walls, until, at last, 
our men finding the fire from the Picurina 
terribly galling, it was decided to storm that fort 
on the 24th. 

The rain had ceased, and the dark mass of 
the fort, held by some of the Hesse-Darmstadt 
Regiment, loomed up, stern and silent, as five 
hundred of Picton's Division mustered before 
it about nine o'clock on a fine night. 

A hundred men were kept in reserve, while 
the remainder, divided into two bodies, were to 
advance against the right and left flanks, also 
securing the communication with San Roque to 
prevent any succour coming from the town. 

Scarcely had the word to march been given, 
when soaring rockets went up from the ramparts, 
port-fires illuminated the darkness in places, and 
the stillness became a babel of sounds, as shells 
came hissing towards us, drums rolled, and the 
bells of Badajoz rang wildly amid the deep 
booming of the heavy cannon. Red flashes 
streamed through the openings in the palisading, 
the Hesse-Darmstadt opened a murderous fire, 
but we swarmed irresistibly up the rocks and 
groped for the gate, the pioneers of the Light 
Division leading with their axes. 

Down in the communication our fellows re- 
pulsed a battalion coming to the rescue, but it 
seemed for a time as if we had been bafiled ; the 
sides of the hill were dotted with our dead. 
Oates, of the Connaught Rangers, three engineer 
officers, with Majors Rudd and Shaw, who com- 
manded the attack, and many a private soldier 
had fallen there. But as Powis, of the 83rd, 

brought up the reserve and forced the palings in 
front, the pioneers discovered the gateway on 
the town side, and, battering it down, rushed in 
with a shout. 

Nixon, of the 52nd, was shot two yards within 
the entrance, and we fought with gun-butt and 
bavonet against a most heroic resistance ; but at 
last they were overpowered, and half the garrison 
slain. One officer and thirty men floundered 
through the inundation and gained Badajoz in 
safety, but brave Gaspard Thierry, with the 
eighty-six survivors, were compelled to surrender, 
and the death-dealing Picurina was ours. 

The firing from the town ceased at midnight, 
but with the dawn of day they turned their guns 
on to the captured fort, driving us out and 
crumbling it to pieces. 

Philippon had hoped to have held the work 
for four or five days, while he completed certain 
partially-finished defences, and its capture and 
destruction were a severe blow to him. But he 
urged his garrison to fresh efforts by reminding 
them of the English prison-hulks, which, as 
Napier justly says, were a disgrace to our country. 

Three breaching-batteries were now con- 
structed, one against the Trinidad bastion, 
another to shatter the Santa Maria, and the 
third — which consisted of howitzers — was to 
throw shrapnel into the ditch, and so prevent 
the garrison from working there. We had been 
eleven days before the town, and in spite of all 
the obstacles had made considerable progress, 
although latterly a bright moon had interfered 
with our nocturnal operations. 

Overcoats were laid aside, and our men ap- 
peared in the well-worn scarlet coatee with 
white-tape lace, and the black knee-gaiter, 
which was the dress of a British-infantry private 
at that time. Pigtails had been done away 
with four years previously, and the well-known 
grey trousers were not issued to the troops 
until the following September. The Rifle Corps 
wore dark green, and used a wooden mallet to 
drive the ball down the grooved barrel ; fusiliers 
and the grenadier companies of the line had 
bearskin caps, and light infantry were dis- 
tinguished by green tufts in their felt shakoes, 
while our Portuguese friends were mostly clad in 
blue or brown, with green for the cacadorcs^ or 
riflemen, each man carrying — including knap- 
sack, accoutrements, kit, and weapons, etc. — a 
weight of seventy-five pounds twelve ounces, or 
ten pounds more than their opponents. The 
soldiers were enraged at the inhabitants of 
Badajoz for admitting the French, a sentiment 



which boded ill to them if we took the town. 
But, in the meantime, many instances of pluck on 
both sides were exhibited. One morning, early, 
before the working-party arrived, a brave fellow 
crept out of Badajoz and moved a tracing-string 
nearer to the walls, so that when we began 
digging in fancied security, their guns suddenly 
opened and bowled the men over like nine-pins. 
Another time, two of our officers and some men 
stole forward in the night, gagged a sentry, and 
laid barrels of powder against the dam which 
confined the inundation, and got back in safety ; 
but the explosion did not have the desired effect. 

At last, the stones began to fall from the 
Trinidad bastion, amid clouds of dust, as ball 
after ball went home with terrific force ; the 
Santa Maria also crumbled under the cannonade, 
but, being casemated, it resisted better than the 
other, which, bv the 2nd of April, yawned in a 
manner that must have dismayed the garrison, 
for they commenced to form wh